NY bill seeks to punish NRA for political views

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

The NRA isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Obviously, those who favor gun control disagree with the organization’s pro-gun positions. On the flip side, many in the gun rights community feel the NRA is too willing to compromise for political expediency.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum, though, most acknowledge that the NRA offers good, affordable training in how to handle a firearm safely. That’s never really been particularly disputed, either. Oh, it might not be the best, but NRA-certified instructors are just about everywhere.

But a new bill in New York seeks to remove the organization from its list of entities authorized to certify handgun instructors. The reason? The NRA’s politics.

he National Rifle Association is being skewered in newly-minted state legislation that calls for the organization to be booted off the list of entities authorized to certify handgun instructors.

The bill, filed by Sen. Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, is one of several new pieces of gun legislation to emerge since New York’s system for issuing pistol permits was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in May.

‘EXTREME POLITICAL AGENDA’

Ryan argues in the legislation that the N.R.A., the nation’s leading gun rights group, has embraced an “extreme political agenda focused on overturning gun safety laws here in New York and across the nation.”

Offering his justification for having the N.R.A. canceled from the roster of groups and individuals authorized to certify pistol instructors, Ryan says in the legislation: “Through its conduct as an organization, the NRA has proven to no longer be an authority on gun safety.”

In other words, if you disagree with Ryan about gun control, you cannot know anything about the proper handling of a firearm.

Seriously.

What he’s trying to do is to punish the NRA for refusing to sit still and be quiet when the rights its members value are threatened by lawmakers. That’s not remotely just or right.

Had Ryan tried to say that the NRA’s instructors weren’t any good, or provide some other rationale for why the organization should be removed from this list, it might be possible for it to fly. We’d all know the reasoning was BS, of course, but it might be a bit harder to prove.

But this guy just straight-up admits that he wants to punish the NRA because they have the wrong opinions.

In the process, he also illustrates that New York’s training requirement isn’t about safety.

Remember, folks, few people actually attack the NRA’s basic safety training as improper or insufficient. It teaches people how to safely handle a firearm. Ryan isn’t actually criticizing the training. He’s saying that he doesn’t like their politics. He doesn’t actually address the actual training.

And, as I said, NRA instructors are almost everywhere. It’s easy to find an NRA instructor near you.

Removing those instructors from the list will do nothing to benefit New Yorkers wanting a handgun. It won’t make them safer, nor will it stop criminals in any way.

It just punishes them as well, all because the NRA won’t be good little boys and girls and do what they’re told.