NRA to Harry Reid: Get lost

How big a deal will this be in the Nevada Senate race?

The U.S. Senate recently considered a number of issues important to NRA members, including the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Out of respect for the confirmation process, the NRA did not announce its position on Ms. Kagan’s confirmation until the conclusion of her testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee. Her evasive testimony exacerbated grave concerns we had about her long-standing hostility towards the Second Amendment. As a result, the NRA strongly opposed her confirmation and made it clear at the time that we would be scoring this important vote.

The vote on Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the Court, along with the previous year’s confirmation vote on Sonia Sotomayor, are critical for the future of the Second Amendment. After careful consideration, the NRA-PVF announced today that it will not be endorsing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for re-election in the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Nevada.

The NRA sent out a letter to its members in July 2009 praising Reid’s stand on gun rights as Senator, leading some to wonder whether the group would eventually endorse Reid in his re-election campaign.  The NRA asked its members to call Reid’s offices and thank him for, among other actions, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 that put the kibosh on a planned wave of lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and his opposition to Eric Holder’s statement that the DoJ would seek reinstatement of the “assault weapons” ban.  A year later, NRA Political Victory Fund chair Chris Cox floated the idea of endorsing Reid, saying that having anti-gun Senator Chuck Schumer as head of the Senate would be potentially disastrous for gun owners.

That idea created a huge backlash, however, and apparently Cox has reconsidered his opinion — albeit for thinly veiled reasons.  Reid couldn’t have stopped Elena Kagan’s confirmation even if he were inclined to try, at least not after the time that the NRA issued its own tardy condemnation of the appointment.  Given the track record of Reid in defending gun ownership listed in the 2009 letter, the Kagan confirmation that didn’t prompt official worry from the NRA until after her public hearing — when it was far too late for any pressure on Barack Obama to pick someone else — seems like a weak-tea argument, especially since the Sotomayor confirmation vote came just a few weeks after the July 2009 letter, when Reid was clearly on board with Sotomayor’s confirmation as well.  The truth seems more like the NRA’s membership balked at backing Reid, and Cox heard the outrage.

The real question is whether the NRA will endorse Sharron Angle, or just remain on the sidelines in Nevada.  I suspect it will be the latter — as Allahpundit predicted all along.