by Gary Marbut
President, Montana Shooting Sports Association
October 29, 2001
Dear MSSA Friends,
It has recently come to my attention that the NRA has been giving money to
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). According to the Website that tracks all of the
candidate and donor financial information available from the Federal Elections
Commission (FEC), (See http://www.tray.com/fecinfo/.)
both Baucus and NRA-PVF (Political Victory Fund - the name of the NRA political
action committee) FEC reports show that the NRA on 06/26/01 gave the Baucus
re-election campaign a $3,950.00 contribution.
Most of you will remember that Max Baucus built his political career on
steady and sworn promises to NEVER vote for any gun control. Then, in 1994, and
at the special request of his then-buddy, Bill Clinton, Baucus betrayed his
longstanding promises to Montana voters and became the single swing vote on
pass/fail procedural votes on both the Brady Bill and the Feinstein semi-auto
and magazine ban bill.
Saying that Baucus was the swing vote on pass/fail procedural votes means
that if he had kept his promises to Montana voters, neither bill would have
passed the Senate or Congress. Max's betrayal made it happen.
You will remember the intense effort made by MSSA and its members to replace
Max when our very pro-gun Lt. Governor, Denny Rehberg, ran against him. You may
even remember that this heroic effort by gun owners was undercut in the last
days of the campaign by the NRA (if you want a copy of the letter I sent to Neal
Knox then explaining this fiasco, let me know).
Now, we learn that the NRA is giving money to Baucus.
I spoke at length with the NRA staffer in NRA/ILA Federal Affairs who is
responsible for dealing with Baucus for the NRA. We talked for nearly an hour,
and I admit to not being very kind to him. Among other things, I asked him why
nobody in the NRA had bothered to ask anybody in Montana if it might or might
not be a good idea to begin funding Baucus. I did learn several interesting
1) The decision to give Baucus money was not his (he says), but came from
"higher up" (he works for Charles Cunningham, who works for Jim
Baker, who works for Wayne LaPierre and the NRA Board of Directors).
2) He asserts that the NRA money doesn't mean the same as an NRA
endorsement (Yeah, right. Baucus will certainly spin it as an endorsement, and
it certainly starts the process of giving Baucus more money, to be followed by
an eventual endorsement.)
3) He says that Baucus has voted right lately, and that the NRA cannot turn
its back on this good behavior.
4) He says that the NRA has an established policy of actively AVOIDING any
input from states when making decisions about how to treat members of Congress
(which is why they didn't bother to call and ask our opinion about giving
So, here's what I'd like to do.
Please send me a comment about this - speak your mind -, which I will forward
to people in the NRA structure. I will also collect these comments and send them
back out to the MSSA list.
Please, try to avoid language that can't be used in polite company. Try to
keep your comment fairly brief - say under 100 words. And, please sign your name
and give the community in which you reside (for example: Gary Marbut, Missoula).
If you occupy any particular position, like an officer of a local gun club, or
an elected office, please state that as you sign your comment.
Also, free to forward this to any gun-owning and freedom-loving friends in
Montana, for their possible comment to me and the NRA also.
I hope to hear from you soon.
President, Montana Shooting Sports Association
P.S. For point of clarification, I am a Life Member of the NRA. People
in the NRA will tell you that I have been critical of the NRA as often as I have
been complimentary. I've been an unsuccessful candidate for the NRA Board of
Directors, and I have also served on the Board of Gun Owners of America, a
sometimes NRA competitor. Also, MSSA is affiliated with the NRA, as it is also
affiliated with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. As
an NRA affiliate, MSSA is not subservient to the NRA, nor do we have any special
power to compel NRA behavior.
Finally, for in-state political issues, such as legislative affairs and
election of legislative candidates, MSSA deals with a different subdivision of
the NRA, one called "State and Local". The hierarchy looks like this:
Under the NRA, there is a branch called the Institute for Legislative Action
(ILA). That is the political branch of the NRA. ILA has several subdivisions,
including "Federal Affairs" and "State and Local". It is the
Federal Affairs subdivision which has given money to Baucus. In the State and
Local subdivision, the "State Liaison" for Montana is Brian Judy, who
works VERY WELL with us in Montana, and has traveled to Montana to shoot the Ban
Baucus Assault Rifle Event at our annual fundraising bowling pin shoot. Brian is
definitely a good guy, and has little contact or influence with those in ILA who
have given money to Baucus.
Along with working for gun rights and liberty, Gary Marbut manufactures
gravity-powered shooting range equipment for law enforcement, IPSC and IDPA. He
is most well-known for his gravity turner, which gives the shooter of a tactical
course a momentary target exposure, adjustable in duration from 1/2 to 8
seconds. See http://www.TargetOperator.com.