Monday, August 26, 2013

More Notes from a Small Town Republican Meeting in Texas - June 2013

This is part of a continuing series. The agenda topic for this meeting in June 2013 was the 2nd Amendment, but you know they couldn't leave the IRS out of the discussion. We had a talk from a representative from the NRA, which he referred to as "the nation's largest civil rights organization" (!). Although the recently concluded Texas legislative session passed 15 "pro-gun" bills, his organization only gave the legislature a rating of a 'C' because of the bills they failed to pass. Allowing students to carry concealed handguns on school campuses was one example of a failed bill that the NRA strongly wanted.

The NRA representative made no attempt to represent the NRA as non-partisan. Democrats in general, Obama in particular, were described as "the enemy". For the most part though, he came across as more moderate than I expected. Many of the "pro gun" bills passed were actually rather reasonable, and some I might have even supported.

It is also noteworthy that two "pro-gun" bills submitted by members of the Tea Party caucus were not supported by the NRA because they went a little too far even for the NRA. One example included a modification to the concealed handgun law, which currently restricts places where people cannot carry concealed weapons even with a permit. Bars are one example of such restricted places. One bill included a provision that would specifically allow members of the Texas state legislature to carry their concealed weapons into most of those restricted places, including bars. That was a little too much even for the NRA, and the bill failed when the NRA withdrew its support.

The night ended with a possible preview of things to come when one of the audience members felt compelled to suggest that this is the time to completely abolish the IRS. If the national Republican party made this a key policy issue, they would win complete control of Congress in the next elections he predicted. The comment was met with enthusiastic approval from the audience. I wonder if the Tea Party wing will take up this cause, forcing the Republican party to continue playing to an increasingly vocal and increasingly narrow base?

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