Now that the DISCLOSE Act has passed the House, it’s worth considering anew the NRA’s decision not to oppose the bill in exchange for an exemption for itself. Perhaps news of the demise of DISCLOSE was a bit premature.
In a letter to The Washington Post, the NRA’s Chris Cox defends the group’s decision:
It’s easy to say the NRA should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle to protect other organizations—unless you work for the NRA and are sworn to defend the Second Amendment above all else. The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment without the ability to speak.
But why would anyone defend the Second Amendment "above all else"?
As both a gun owner and a staunch advocate of individual rights, I’m a big fan of the Second Amendment. But gun rights are important because all rights are important. Compromising on the protection of any rights ultimately destroys protections for all of them. We can’t pick a list of favored rights and jettison protections for all the others—not if we want them to be treated as rights, rather than mere privileges doled out to us or taken away from us at the whim of a government official.
Unfortunately, that appears to be the NRA’s position—the First Amendment is expendable as long as we still have the Second. That’s both unprincipled and foolish, because without protections for free speech, we will end up losing all rights, including our right to keep and bear arms.