NRA Board Member Duane Liptak: An Open Letter

Pile of NRA Stand and Fight hats

Duane Liptak is a NRA board member and Executive Vice President of Magpul. Recently, he penned an open letter on the importance of the midterm elections and the potential affect the outcome may have on the fight for our gun rights. It is not only worth a read, it is worthy of being read and shared. Although Liptak is a board member of the NRA, his message is pro gun, period. The Second Amendment is not a red or blue issue. However, the difference of whether we expand our rights to include the true meaning of the Second Amendment or continue to fight as the anti-gunners chip away at our rights hangs in the balance.

Pile of NRA Stand and Fight hats
The best way to show your support, is to show your support…

I’ve just completed some meetings and other duties with the NRA, and I wanted to get some of these thoughts out there, in case anyone finds them useful. There is a lot of work going on, and I’ve never been so encouraged by the efforts I’m seeing move forward. As a disclaimer, these opinions are mine, personally, and I do not speak for the NRA or anyone else in this statement. This is long, and potentially a bit repetitive on points of significance, but I felt it important to say.

We are nearing midterm election time, and a lot is at stake. I don’t have any particular love for many of the positions of either of the two major parties, but the reality is that the Democrat side is embracing socialism and statist oppression so openly that it is hard to ignore the potential consequences of Democrat legislative control of either chamber at the federal level and losing ground in the states. The candidates in the NY State AG race are actually arguing over who will more voraciously wield the power of the state in trying to drive the NRA out of business to silence the voice of their political opposition. We have some favorable odds to retain a Republican U.S. Senate just with the luck of the draw with the seats that are up, but we still need good turnout to retain it. Dems only need to gain about 24 seats to flip the House, and there are between 65 and 75 or so contested races that are within a few points, nationwide. It’s close. In addition, Governorships and legislative races at the state level could affect redistricting that would make it very hard to have anything other than a Democrat majority in the House for years to come, so those races are just as critical.

Personally, I am something of a gun rights single issue voter, in that regardless of the merits of any other positions of a candidate, I weigh support for 2A rights as a prerequisite before even looking at other issues, and most of my friends and associates fall in that category as well. I believe those rights to be too important to do otherwise, especially at this time in world and national events. Fortunately, a candidate’s stance on gun rights usually follows along with many of the other positions that are appealing to me as well, and if I can find a pro-gun, fiscally conservative, social libertarian, then I’m fairly happy. If you fall in that category of voter and are disappointed that we’ve achieved no forward legislative progress in the past two years of a Republican-held House and Senate on gun rights, I’m with you. But, I also spend enough time lobbying and working with lobbying efforts to understand that our simple majority by party is not a majority on many issues that I hold dear. Personally, I’d love to see the NFA gutted, or at the very least, Hughes repealed and silencers and SBR/SBS completely removed from NFA purview, nationwide no-permit carry, as well as many other positions that might be considered “extreme” by anyone who doesn’t understand or love freedom quite so much, or understand that these measures actually increase the safety of our country. On the side of “just give us a common sense inch,” I’d love to see basic nationwide reciprocity passed without poisoned amendments, and that shouldn’t be hard—one would think. (That one is the fault of current Senate leadership for not having the fortitude to bring it to a vote.)
NRA Stand and Fight

The unfortunate reality is that we were actually dangerously close to additional ANTI-gun legislation this year on rate accelerating devices and “bump stocks” that could have effectively banned all replacement triggers that was steamrolling toward the legislative floor and had enough bipartisan support in both houses to pass due to the emotion of the moment and not actually understanding what the legislation actually was banning—a common theme. There were some even worse bills on the table including the possibility of another national AWB this year, and the lack of understanding of what printed firearms were all about almost ended up with legislation banning those, with potential far-reaching second and third order effects from that, as well. Without the NRA, these measures likely would have passed. That’s a fact, and I dealt with it through our Magpul lobbyists, as well. It was a steamroller, and disaster was very narrowly averted. Yes, I’m not happy that it was even close, and I’m certainly not happy with some of the other legislative shenanigans in other areas, but the alternative would be far worse with Dem control of the legislature and the committee chairs, even if we had the hope of a Presidential veto to hold the line.

One thing we are winning at, and that has potentially saved the Republic in my eyes, is in judicial appointments. We are about to finally have an actual solid 5/4 court on the basic individual right to own a firearm in the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC). We have been extremely close on that in previous decisions. We are likely not ever going to turn NY, CA, NJ, and other liberal enclaves legislatively back to more firearms freedoms, so the path to that is through the courts, and we could potentially get AWBs, magazine restrictions, etc., declared unconstitutional with the right court composition and granting cert to the right cases. We will need the USSC and Trump’s appointees to do that, and in the background, Trump and the Senate have confirmed 60 constitutionalist-leaning judges in federal courts across the country, changing the balance in two district courts, with 40 more appointments planned before the midterm and another 40 or so after. This is important to the fight for ALL freedom with more judges who interpret the constitution rather than attempt to legislate statist ideals from the bench. If we had lost the 2016 Presidential election to the Dems, this option would be dead, and we would potentially have the basic individual right to own a firearm (incorrectly and unconstitutionally) struck down by the courts. Like Trump or not, without him being the one making appointments right now, the Second Amendment may have died in this decade.

So, we need a strong showing this fall to keep, and ideally, expand control of both chambers. Please get out and do your part, and encourage others to do the same. The anti-freedom groups are motivated, organized, and well-funded. Bloomberg has pledged to spend $80 Million in house races alone.

Second Amendment Foundation logo and address

Just as a reminder, as they are sometimes bad at talking about things like this effectively, we likely would have had some of the previously mentioned negative legislation passed were it not for the NRA, and we certainly would have ZERO chance of having any positive legislation without them. I know it’s fashionable these days to accuse the NRA of not being “hard core” enough, and yep, some of the statements have left me a little disappointed. Folks need to understand that there are plenty of people within the organization and staff that are very aligned with my viewpoints. There just isn’t the political possibility of achieving those things right now, and that’s a real, and unfortunate, fact. We were very close to having the votes for HPA passage, although not many of our elected officials want to take that up right now, and we are still very close to national reciprocity passage, but the legislative vote numbers on repealing NFA, ditching all provisions of GCA ‘68, repealing Hughes, etc., aren’t even close. That’s unfortunately not something we can change without changing the entire political and public opinion landscape right now—which will take some time, and a lot of effort from all of us. We all need to work toward that.

Please understand that “taking a hard line, no compromise stance” publicly is great for fund raising and grass roots activation—and the goals behind the scenes can be exactly those no compromise positions, as they are in the offices of the NRA—but if a legislator doesn’t believe it’s in his or his constituents’ best interests or will keep in office to support something… your stance isn’t going to sway him. The facts may… but they also may not. That’s the wonderful thing about lobbying—some of the folks you are talking to couldn’t care less about the facts. That’s right… some don’t care. At all. Show them a 4-foot pile of evidence that their anti-gun or even lukewarm stance on guns is detrimental in every measurable way, and they still might not care. Some of them only care about how things poll for their next election, and that’s it. Republicans in purple districts are hard to get to support pro-gun measures sometimes because they know it will potentially lose them their seat to a Democrat challenger—and there may be no better candidate in that district that has any chance whatsoever of beating a Democrat challenger, so you’re stuck with either the soft R or the hard D. House and Senate leadership don’t want to tackle issues like that that may lose them control of their chamber due to the lost seats, and thus the ability to control the legislative agenda at all, plus the loss of the ability to support judicial appointments, pass budgets, etc., which is worse for the entire country, and can immediately undo anything that they DO pass. It’s a messy, flawed system. But, it’s what we’ve got to navigate. When you demand a mile and refuse to take a foot when one is offered, you’re not going to move forward in this environment. All or nothing nearly guarantees that we get nothing. The antis actually LOVE it when we draw lines in the sand that prevent any progress at all for our side, and LOVE it when we are bickering among ourselves as to who is signalling more 2A virtue.

The reality is that the NRA is your only real viable voice in the fight for gun rights in these circles. Other gun groups are great at promoting “hard line” positions publicly—and BZ for them doing so— because they aren’t risking policy achievement by doing it, as they don’t have the horsepower to even be included. They publicly state a hard line position, file a few amicus briefs maybe, send out some emails to fire up the grassroots base (which actually is an important factor) and they cash your check. I’m not saying don’t support them, because that grassroots activation is effective, as are some of the legal efforts! We need their efforts, also. The NRA, however, actually gives you a voice in this jacked up circus of the DC beltway, in the best way to actually influence policy—because they actually have a seat at the table. Unfortunately, sometimes that requires, at least to all public appearances, taking a certain position in order to achieve certain ends. Believe me when I tell you that it’s extremely frustrating to many of the staff to have to do this, just as much as it is for many members to see it. This is how change is effectively achieved, though, when larger movements are impossible. Everytown and other anti-freedom groups absolutely want all guns banned, period, and this has been leaked or reported on in one form or another for some time. But, in most cases, their public positions are for “common sense safety measures” and “reasonable restrictions,” and having the tactical patience to take our freedoms an inch at a time helps them to get to where they want to go. We have to be willing to win our freedoms back in the same way from a legislative perspective while we also charge forward with the legal strategy that may transform the national landscape for the better in a far more immediate fashion if we can get enough people on the bench that actually believe in the founding documents of our nation.

That legal fight is what can’t be forgotten. Other groups, like FPC, etc., do some great work, as well, but the legal battlefield on which the NRA plays is incredibly significant. Heller and MacDonald, getting the anti-gun ballot measures stricken from the Oregon ballots, the cases which have expanded concealed carry around the nation, injunctions in CA, ad nauseum—all of these had the hand of the NRA, and with the change in judicial landscape, more will come. The NRA is currently fighting what is potentially one of the most important First Amendment legal battles in our nation’s history, fighting a State supported effort to drive an advocacy out of business because of its beliefs, and the NRA will prevail. Even the ACLU has backed the NRA in this effort, as it’s SO critical to preserving freedom of speech and preventing government from killing opposition using the power of office. This case may have far reaching effects on government censorship that affects the very ability to speak out in opposition of government at all, and could potentially be used to shut down the entire firearms industry by denying basic business services, should we lose.

Join or Donate to the NRA Today
Join or Donate to the NRA Today

Want the NRA to be able to get more done? Want things to actually get passed? Want to get more real pro-gun legislators elected? The way to achieve that is with numbers. The NRA is at its highest membership numbers, ever, but there are around 6 Million NRA members and over 100 Million U.S. gun owners—conservatively. If just another 5 percent of U.S. gun owners were members, the ability to influence policy would improve significantly. As powerful as 6 million members can be, a lobby with the power of 10 or 12 million members is so significant as to not be able to be ignored. The NRA is currently under attack, because the anti-freedom opposition knows that the NRA membership can affect elections. The enemies of freedom are doing everything they can to force the NRA to the sidelines in this midterm, because they know the effect the NRA can have.

What can you do? First, become a member of the NRA. Become a five-year or life member if you are already an annual member, so you can vote in the board elections, also. Then encourage family, friends, neighbors, people you see at the range, co-workers, etc., to also become members. With membership, we have more say on the national stage. Join other groups you believe in, as well. Support other efforts, or start one yourself. But…it doesn’t cost much to be an NRA member, and just the publications and other benefits make it worthwhile as a gun owner, let alone the cause you are supporting. So, do that first.

Then, become active this fall. Vote. Don’t be apathetic, even in races where you think we’ve got an easy victory. Every vote does count, and the enemy is motivated. Encourage others to vote. Help to educate others on the issues. Support a candidate if you can. This could potentially be one of the most important elections in the history of our nation, and it is absolutely imperative that we all do our part to promote a victory for freedom.

What action will you take to secure our gun rights in the midterm election? Do your state’s senators and representatives have a pro gun or anti gun record? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (43)

  1. Mr. Socialist, I do not believe in violence. I spent 23 years slinging a pistol, keeping the peace in Texas, and a year slinging an M4 keeping the peace for DoS in Iraq. So let me tell you some of the non-peaceful things I will not do: I wont draw the Fairbairn-Sykes stiletto I carried in Basra and stab you in the eye, and I wont cut your throat with it and urinate on you while you bleed out. I wont burn your house down, and kneecap your boyfriend when he runs out. I wont round up your children, as they flee the flames, and barbecue them, enjoying the burnt ends while I share with my dogs. I would never do these nasty, horrible things…you hope. So dont keep pushing!

    1. You silly little knuckle-dragger, you think your hollow threats scare me? You are just an ignorant little thug who has spent his short and ignorant life being paid muscle for those who would oppress the working class, especially when they are brown, and don’t support which ever imperialist pig is paying you.

      Funny how you think killing children makes you a man. That’s the only thing you’ve specifically said that makes you sound like one of the child-killing scum our Empire calls soldiers.

      See, that’s the difference between us. Were you ever to find yourself in control of my son, you’d have the time of your life raping his ass, as I’m sure you raped many boys when you were a baby-killer. Were I to get a hold of your son, I’d make him a real man, by making sure he got a good education, and became a civilized and compassionate Socialist!

  2. Funny, the Socialist Labor Movement fought and died for things we take for granted today, and when I say fought and died, they did so often with personally owned firearms. They ended child labor, and gave us things like worker safety laws, the 40 hour week, and the right to organize. The Democratic Socialism of FDR defeated the Third Reich (why I think you have Socialism), and gave us things like Socialist things like the minimum wage, Social Security, and the GO Bill.Oh yeah, and even a Capitalist like Henry Ford would be called a Socialist by RWNJs like you, because he believed his lowest paid employee should be able to buy one of his cars.

    As for all the failed Marxist-Leninist countries you mentioned, they were not Democratic Socialist, and every one of them had Wall Street, and the American Military-Industrial Complex out to destroy them from the day they came to power. But I will point out the as bad as Cuba is, they have a lower infant mortality rate then we do, and there are no veterans of the Cuban Army who are living and dying on Cuban streets because they are too poor to live.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

  3. The condescending attitude of the NRA hierarchy has turned off a lot of members over the decades.They need to be in synch with the member-ship,not merely dictating what we should be doing.

    1. Why should they listen to you? They are nothing but a lobbying group for the industry, and a PAC for the Republican Party. What have they actually done for their members since the Republicans came to power? Weren’t they promising concealed-carry reciprocity if the Republicans were running the show? What about that promise to deregulate silencers? Oh yeah, the House Republicans shelved it a year ago, and the NRA has not said a peep to get it back on the table. They were too busy helping Trump but the environmental regulations that protect our fish and game, and trying to hand federal lands over to private interests that will take it, fish, game, and our children’s futures be damned.But yes, they are still busy keeping Obama from taking your guns.

  4. Get out there and vote! Unless you want the US government to look something like the “government” of California, you need to vote these idiots out of office and vote in candidates who respect the constitution and our rights as stated there. I’m a life member of the NRA and I believe they are trying to fight a VERY difficult battle. We need to help them by electing the right people, not the socialist/progressive/communist/fascist/whatever you want to call them freaks who want to run our country into the ground. Don’t be lazy. Get off your couch and vote. It’s the only way we can win back our great America again.

  5. I am so looking forward to November, when we will send a number of NRA supported Republicans on to the next phase of their careers, as lobbyists for the very corporate interests that are ruining the Nation, and Speaker Pelosi will be able to launch an investigation of the NRA for laundering Russian money into the campaign of Putin’s Salad Tosser. We will destroy the NRA for choosing to be partisan, and backing the Party of Treason.

    Funny, the NRA supported Fascist Right has been in control of all three branches of government for two years, and they haven’t given you gun-humpers any of the things on your wish list. No roll-back of import restrictions, no concealed carry reciprocity, and certainly no reduction in the regulation of silencers. Looks like the only thing you extremists have gotten for your money is a motivated Democratic Party motivated to destroy the NRA, and ban semi-automatic weapons. Kiss your AR-15’s good bye once we get a Democrat in the White House in 2020. That will be especially true if we block the rapist Kavenaugh.

    1. Fortunately I don’t need anyones permission to own or use a firearm. I am a free human being. So mister socialist why don’t you volunteer to confiscate guns if the laws change. Come to northwest indiana we can “talk”. I am sick of these facts be damned idiots telling me what i can and can not own. You are obviously misinformed and maybe a little slow. You need to do some research about socialism and if you come to the conclusion you still want to be one you need to move to a different country.

    2. Amen to that, but he probably won’t listen to you. These “democratic socialists” won’t listen to anything that doesn’t agree with their agenda because they don’t believe in the first amendment unless it applies to them. I guess he will be crying with the rest of the snowflakes when they don’t win in November.

    3. Why would I be crying with the snowflakes, I’m not a Republican? I’m not really a Democrat either, but they always do less damage, and are vastly less corrupt than Republicans. But really, Trump is the millstone that will drown a lot of Republicans in November. Even the foreign-born Rafael Cruz is so afraid of losing, that he’s groveling to a man he previously showed the appropriate contempt for an Orange Fool who disrespected his wife and his father. Then again, Canada Cruz has always been a pathetic excuse for a man.

      Still, none of you have addressed my main point. You pathetic morons have been used by the NRA. Look at all the toys they promised you if they had control of government. They’ve given Israel all they demand, and they’ve given vast drift to their owners, but what have they done for you gun-humpers? Where’s your consealed-carry reciprocity? Where’s that silencer deregulation you all were expecting? Hell, they haven’t even rolled-back restrictions on importing semi-autos. Hell, you suckers have gotten dick, and yet you still line up to give the people ripping you off more of your money. And you think my team’s the idiots.

    4. Still BS. Try to quit spouting socialist agenda crap and give some positive proof that what you say is true. Why were we in such a rut when the “anointed one” was in office and now things are going so much better (and don’t tell me that OBUTTHEAD had anything to do with vastly better situation we are in now). Also, who was it that started slavery and wanted to keep it going here, and who started the KKK? Explain how socialism, communism, progressivism, fascism, liberalism is so much better. Use your political science education to explain it, not socialist talking points, if you can.

    5. Given that I’m 54 and have a degree in political science, odds are I know vastly more about Socialism than any of the right-wing nut-jobs who support the NRA or the Fascist Trump regime.

      What I find funny is that you assume that opposition to the NRA, and working to destroy it means I know nothing about gun, and seek to ban gun ownership. Hell, I’ve been shooting since I was a kid in Boy Scouts, and like many on the radical left, agree with Karl Marx the revolutionaries and the Proletariate muse be armed if they are to eventually slaughter the Capitalist Class, and seize the means of production.I seek the destruction of the NRA, and the impoverishment of its leadership for purely political reasons. It is nothing but an lobbying group and PAC to support the Republican party, and the destruction of American Democracy. Since they do not support the Left, they must be destroyed.

      As for leaving the country, that’s what you white Fascists who love Trump and Putin so much need to do. Y’all need to get your Fascist asses out of America, and over to Russia, so you can be with your fellow white Christian nationalists, and teach them all about gun rights. In case you haven’t noticed, the majority of Americans oppose the NRA, and want some reasonable gun safety laws.

    6. Blah blah degree what ever. This is my country, you can keep shitty wet seattle and the peoples republic of california. As far as seizing the means of production and slaughtering the capitalist class… good luck with that. I don’t need any more guns than I already have. I will melt a ton of snowflakes when it kicks off. Be ready cause I am.

    7. Naw, you traitors love white Christian Nationalists so much, it should be you scum that move to Russia, so you can worship Trump’s Puppet Master. As you will see in November, the majority does not support either the NRA or the Republican Party. Enjoy saying Speaker Pelosi again, especially once the House takes a fine-tooth comb to the NRA’s records.

    8. Yes, most NRA supporters only graduated from high school because their school had a policy against flunking-out white people, no matter how ignorant. So yes, I understand how someone with the intelligence to get into a highly-competitive graduate program would look educated beyond intelligence, when you are too ignorant to understand them.

    9. Spoken by a true comrade. I’m 70 years old with a degree in Biological Sciences, so you probably don’t have more education than I do, but I didn’t suck up the socialist agenda from my professors like you did. Maybe you can show us where socialism, communism, fascism, or progressivism has benefitted anyone but those few at the top. Use your words carefully or no one will listen to you except the liberal snowflake sheeple who follow such BS.

    10. Silly little moron. I was mostly an idiot as an undergraduate. That was why I was in College Republicans. Watching the far-right put a sexual deviant and molester like Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court was what opened my eyes to the con the Fascist movement in America was running. My interest in Marxism came from working in corporate America. I bet the bank I work for would be surprised to know I’m not the only Marxist in the IT department.

    11. The only things you’ve proven Mr. Socialist is that you’ve memorized the far left extremist talking points, have no critical thinking skills, and do not respect the freedom or rights of individuals.

    12. I hope you are one of us, and that this was written tongue in cheek. If not, why don’t you move to one of the many places where they already have socialism, troll.

    13. I just love how the barely educated love to use big words they don’t really understand when they don’t have an actual counter argument. First off, as a Sicialist, it is impossible for an individual to have a “right” that does not contribute to the good of society as a whole. Class traitors who put the interests of the Capitalists above the interests of their Proletariat Comrades should never be trusted with weapons, just as counter-revolutionaries should be disarmed and re-educated when identified. The NRA is a right-wing organization, and that is why it must be destroyed and it’s members disarmed.

    14. Your many words & background does not impress, nor sway, anyone to your way of thinking. Just because you say something will happen does not mean it will. Why you bother to comment here is really a futile effort on your part. This shows your level of stupidity, which has nothing to do with education. Some of the smartest & wisest people are not educated. Saying you have a college degree tells me that you are an over educated idiot. A political science degree amounts to little. It qualifies you for little. You would have been better off with a social work degree. At least then you might be able to help someone. You sure can’t help anyone here.

    15. Agreed. His socialist science degree means almost nothing except he wasted a lot of time in school to learn nothing useful. He could have gone to Venezuela to learn what he is talking about here. He should go spout his drivel on some MSM site. Then maybe someone would listen to him as long as it goes along with their agenda.

    16. You silly little moron. I’m not trying to persuade you of anything. I’m pointing out for the historical record what complete morons you are, and how you have been used by elites who get more from your mindless support them the five you in return. More over, I’m also rubbing your face in the shit you took on America by supporting a traitor in service to the Kremlin. I don’t expect any of you knuckle-dragging traitors to understand anything I’m saying. This is just so we can point out you were warned, and chose to be class traitors, when we load you and your families into the cattle cars to take you to Gulag.

    17. Put up or shut up, moron! Answer the question, or didn’t you read my other replies? YOU CAN’T because you don’t know the answer or it doesn’t agree with your ideas. Like I said, why don’t you move to someplace like Venezuela and see how your political ideas are working? Because they AREN’T WORKING, and they NEVER WILL. Later comrade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. While I don’t necessarily disagree with any of the points made in this open letter to me it further highlights that the entire 2A fight is a symptom of a much deeper cultural issue.

    Namely that a vast majority of the populace no longer realizes (for whatever reason) that The People (i.e. each and everyone of us) grant the government the power it has and the permission to that power can be withdrawn. While that may not be the case in other countries, the US people are citizens NOT subjects who who chose to be lead by an elected government and should NOT ruled by it.

    As “radical” as that may sound to some, it does reflect the principals and concepts that resulted in the creation this nation and it can be seen in the choice of words that the Continental Congress (who spent many hours debating those words) used when creating the founding documents of this nation — and in the actions of the first US President when he declined to run for a third term.

    1. Funny, you sound like a Democrst! They, as well as is to the left of them, have been complaining for some time about how the Republican Party is owned by Wall Street, and the ultra-wealthy. Good heavens, if you believe that we the people should be in charge, you really need to find the nearest Democratic Socialists of America meeting, and join us! You might be surprised how many of us have long histories in the shooting sports.

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