Subscribe for 33¢ / day

There was once a time when the Republican Party – my party – was identified with lower taxes, smaller government, strong national defense and respect for law enforcement. But 18 years into the 21st century, one issue defines the Republican Party, its office holders, candidates and party officials – guns.

Yes, the Grand Old Party, nationally, statewide and locally, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association. Love it or hate it, no matter the rhetoric or the circumstances, the GOP’s defining identity is to wrap itself in the Second Amendment right to bear arms and dance in perfect harmony to the NRA’s tune.

The recent tragedy in Parkland, Fla., has once again sparked a national debate on the merciless plague of shootings in which innocent children and adults trying to protect them are gunned down by semi-automatic weapon fire.

We’ve seen this debate before – over and over and over. But the tragedies keep coming. Despite the prayers and platitudes, the Republican Party and its minions (whether the alt-right news media or Russian bots) continue to embrace the NRA’s unyielding resistance to any kind of meaningful reform of our gun laws.

Make no mistake about it, the NRA is an enormously powerful political entity, raking in millions of dollars by promoting itself as the defender of gun rights.

On the back end, it plows millions in contributions and political organizing into candidates willing to swear allegiance to the NRA political agenda. Candidates (mostly Republicans but with the occasional Democrat) prostrate themselves before the NRA banner, shamelessly seeking the NRA’s endorsement and political and monetary favors. The amounts given to North Carolina’s leading office holders is staggering and plenty troubling.

Having found a political party willing to be the vehicle for its pro-gun agenda, the NRA has become a political force that Republican candidates and office holders are simply unwilling to renounce. You’d have a better chance of Republicans condemning the FBI, passing trillion-dollar budget deficits and siding with Putin and the Russians long before they’d ever condemn any agenda advocated for by the NRA. Oh, seems that’s already happened.

Last year at the state GOP Convention, I sat there watching as announcement after announcement was made of auctions and raffles by local parties for some type of weapon – usually a semi-automatic rifle.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen hunting rifles, shotguns or black powder rifles auctioned – only semi-automatic weapons or pistols. I half-jokingly asked the party official next to me, “Do we ever auction off beach trips or rounds of golf or Aunt Minnie’s famous pound cake?” “No,” he said, “the NRA gives us these weapons so that’s what we always auction off.”

I know this will all be construed by NRA stalwarts as anti-gun, and part of some communist conspiracy to take away your firearms. No, the Second Amendment has to be honored regardless of one’s position on guns.

But the Republican Party – the party I’ve tried to build and support over the course of my career – seems unable to seriously engage in meaningful action to end the violence we keep seeing across this country from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas to Parkland.

Show me one – just one – major Republican figure willing to stand up to the NRA. Show me one willing to say, “I don’t want your support and your money because I do not believe in your political agenda.” That won’t happen.

And that’s why the Republican Party is now identified as the Party of Guns. The #MeToo movement, the DACA issue, Trump and Russia, will all ultimately affect the GOP. But I’m afraid that the party will live or die, guns a blazing, linked eternally at the soul to the NRA and its agenda.

Bob Orr is a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice. He wrote this for the Charlotte Observer.


(8) comments


Apparently the Fibune had to find an article from North Carolina to find today's lesson on liberal indoctrination. How does that happen...forwarded from a sister publication of Lee Enterprises? Perhaps the anti-gun Democratic network handed it to the Fibune (and other fish-wraps) to print?


The NRA "owns" the Congress and the Wisconsin Legislature. Vote the Republicans out and restore safety and common sense.


You're an idiot. How much would you guess the NRA contributed to national elections during the 2016 campaign? Gazillion of dollars, you must be thinking based on the propaganda you read in the Fibune.

The real answer is only $1 million. NRA is not even close to being in the top 50 of organizations contributing to national elections, including congressional elections.

Smarten up.


You've been duped. You're leaving out the lobbying and attack ads funded by the NRA to the tune of $60mil+ in 2016. And that's only the info that gets reported. So cut the insults and tell the whole truth.


you are way off base redwall. I didn't know such stupidity could exist this long, but you have proven it can. The NRA gave 30 million just to the Trump campaign. Guess that blows your stupid argument right out of the water. Smarten up! Quit licking the NRA's back end and think for yourself.


I have a friend whose son in law works as a telemarketer for the GOP. He also is a telemarketer for the NRA at the exact same place he works for the GOP. The two are intertwined, joined at the hip. the GOP is owned by the NRA, regulated by the NRA, and along with the Russians, is corrupted by the NRA. The NRA us bit concerned about the second amendment, they are only concerned about power. The Florida legislature decided not to bring up or talk about any gun issues before they Parkland students showed up to protest. They wouldn't even listen to the students. That is exactly what the NRA wants, not to even talk about gun violence and regulation, and not to conduct any studies about gun violence. They know what the results would be. This flies in the face of the first amendment. It is a fascist way of governing, and the GOP will learn soon enough that people are fed up and will take action.


Yes, NRA stands for National Russia Organization.

Catch up on your meds.



Buggs Raplin

The FBI knew Cruz wanted to be a school shooter and did nothing. At least two eyewitnesses say there were multiple shooters. Now we are learning that four Broward County sheriff's deputies stood down and did not enter the building when the shooting was going on. We learn that media darling David Hogg was taping an interview with another student in a closet of the school while the carnage was going on, and his guest is slamming the NRA. Again, this is during the shooting. Youtube is now censoring video of the student who said there at least two shooters. The fake news mainstream media and fake news columnists are now blaming the NRA for the tragedy, which is total bullsh*t. If you connect the dots, and I'm sure some of you can, this was a false flag operation designed specifically to take down the 2nd Amendment, and its biggest supporter, the NRA. If there was any real concern for school students, the focus would be on armed guards and increased school security measures, not the NRA and the 2nd Amendment.-Chip DeNure aka Buggs Raplin

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.