By Scott Tibbs, January 6, 2004
The NRA "anti-gun celebrities" list
The Behind The Times lives up to its name again, running an AP Wire story on a list of anti-gun celebrities compiled by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. NRA released a statement on this list on October 18, 2003. An anti-gun group put up a Web site denouncing the list.
They're all on a 19-page blacklist of "anti-gun" individuals, including authors, religious organizations, businesses and celebrities compiled by the National Rifle Association. And like many blacklists, the purpose is all too clear.
The NRA is out of control!
The NRA hopes you'll keep your mouth shut -- while it buys and bullies Congress into two outrageous favors...
Well, whoop de diddly do.
I'm not sure what the big deal is. A few Leftists put up a Stop Dr. Laura Web site that advocated that Dr. Laura's television program be cancelled. (It was.) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has urged boycotts of the Bank of America, Safeway, and DaimlerChrysler, among others.
What the NRA is doing with this list isn't new, nor is it particularly radical. The American colonists boycotted English tea to protest a tax on it. Dozens of issue-advocacy organizations on both sides of the ideological spectrum call for boycotts of individuals and organizations opposed to the group's positions. The list put together by the National Rifle Association, by the way, doesn't even call for a boycott.
Anyone has the right express their opinions on moral, legal, political and social issues, and the government may not censor this speech. Sometimes, though, the words of entertainers like the ones on the NRA list may be unpopular. This leads people to stop patronizing them. The Dixie Chicks discovered this when they criticized President Bush in the weeks leading up to the war in Iraq.
This is not censorship. It is the free market in action. While the reaction to the Dixie Chicks was somewhat, shall we say, overly excited, the Chicks did not lose their right to free speech when country radio stations stopped playing their music and some people boycotted their albums. They faced no government sanctions for their words.
As to the controversy surrounding the NRA list, it is much ado about nothing. The NRA is exercising its freedom of speech in providing this list to gun owners, just as anti-gun advocates are. No one is being denied their rights by virtue of having his or her name on the list.