Too bad to check: NRA thinking of endorsing Reid over Sharron Angle?

Not as far-fetched as it might seem. Just last year, they sent a letter to their Nevada members urging them to thank Reid for publicly opposing reinstating the assault-weapons ban. But that was then and this is now, and knowing which way their national membership skews politically — and how activist-minded conservatives have become since tea-party fever took hold — would they dare endorse the guy grassroots righties most desperately want to replace in November?

Gonna lose a lot of donations if you do, folks.

Now, I’m getting credible reports that the NRA is leaning toward endorsing Harry Reid, even though the NRA is finally saying it will score a vote on Kagan — something that was not a sure thing.

Why would they do this? Why would they go out of their way to protect a Senator who has demonstrated a repeated hostility to the Second Amendment in his votes and his leadership?

Well, I thought perhaps the NRA carveout in the DISCLOSE Act might be the answer. But, there is more. It turns out, Reid secured a $61 million earmark for a gun range in Clark County, Nevada…

But, here is the problem. Reid has not supported the Second Amendment “every day.” Or ever.

Reid has a lifetime rating of “F” from Gun Owners of America (who Ron Paul once called “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington”). GOA is actively supporting the 100% pro-gun Republican nominee, Sharron Angle, in her campaign to unseat Harry Reid.

Follow the link up top for a list of anti-gun votes cast by Reid. Jim Geraghty plays devil’s advocate:

Believe me, I’ve had this sort of discussion many times. An argument put to me is that the Second Amendment would be better protected with a Senate that had, say, 52 Democrats led by pro-gun Harry Reid than 51 Democrats led by the most likely alternatives, Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin. Since the chances of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell are not great, it is in the best interest of the NRA and its members to have the most pro-gun Democratic Senate majority leader they can get.

Translation: He ain’t great but he’s the NRA’s best option under the circumstances. I’d add that it might be especially important to them to have Reid there right now in the wake of the Supreme Court’s latest decision on gun rights. I fully expect crime will drop as gun bans in major cities like Chicago are relaxed (a bit), but there are a lot of variables that go into that and the NRA surely knows that an aggressively anti-gun majority leader will look to capitalize if violence ticks upward anywhere initially. Reid, because he has to worry about votes in rural Nevada, is a better bet than Schumer or Durbin not to bring anything too dicey to the Senate floor. Then again, it’s a mortal lock that the GOP will have more seats next year than they do now. Given the terror felt by moderates like Olympia Snowe after Bob Bennett was ousted by tea partiers in Utah, how would any sort of anti-gun bill avoid a filibuster? Reid struggled for weeks to get to 60 on financial reform despite having 59 seats; how’s he going to get to 60 on a new assault-weapons ban when he has only 53 or 54?

What’s worrisome about this rumor, actually, is that it may show how little confidence the NRA has in an Angle victory. She’s up seven at last check, but the kookier elements of her resume have been trickling out from lefty media. Wait until late summer when Reid turns on the advertising hose full force. Maybe LaPierre and co. figure there’s no sense in antagonizing a guy whom they think is bound to win. It’ll be interesting to see if they end up simply avoiding this race altogether and endorsing no one.

Via Red State, here’s video from April of Reid and LaPierre at that earmarked gun range.