After the election, without warning, the GOP in a party line vote failed to support a bill that had NRA written all over it. It's doubtful this signals a full fledged separation of the two organisations that have seemingly been joined at the hip for time immemorial. More likely a lovers spat complete with broken crockery and thrown silverware. But like any hurtful quarrel words have been spoken, trusts have been broken, oh they'll kiss and make up for sure, but things will never be the same again, those first few years of marital bliss might be a thing of the past.
More below the twisted entrails.
Oh ya, the Sportsmen's Act also known as S. 3525 contained a few good things hunting and shooting related and also some really great things conservation related. Seventeen different parts altogether without any of the ambiguity of it's less well received second cousin that was the house version.
The NRA has been endorsing many portions of this bill for a long time and was one of it's biggest supporters from the right side of the spectrum. Crazed anti gun / anti hunting types have tried to eliminate lead in bullets via the EPA. Science via the Center for Disease control tells us the health affects of lead bullets are too small to even consider http://www.nssf.org/... and ammo for waterfowl which did affect wildlife is no longer sold. No it's not killing condors or raptor populations are increasing not declining. The act would have moved regulation of amo over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service where it rightly belongs.
Environmentalists and conservationists who like getting things done loved the investment in new wetlands especially and there were even some sweeteners for overseas endangered species. 98% of the monies from the duck stamp, which is the major source of funds for this act, goes to purchasing wetlands. Ecologically, a lot is happening in wetlands.
On the extreme right there were some who didn't like the idea of the government buying more public land and allowing greater access to existing lands. Truth be told they also maybe hate anything a bird watcher might like.
On the extreme left were the lovely folks who just hate anything hunting, fishing, or shooting related. No matter how much this bill would help to alleviate user conflicts at National Forests and BLM some are just reactionary on both ends of the political spectrum.
Before last month's election the bill was put on hold, so as not to give any assistance to Democratic sponsor of the bill Senator Testor who was in a close re election battle royale. Montana is the last great place for hunting and fishing in the lower 48, and people take these kinds of things real serious there. The NRA which always gives their support to the Republican if both contestants are anywhere near parity on things gun noticeably didn't take a stand on the Montana senate race.
Testor won by a little more than a whisker and the Republicans were not amused. So what did they do? They killed the Testor sponsored bill on a technicality. Claiming congress had no right to raise spending that wasn't offset through cuts elsewhere. The cost of acquiring wetlands was to be raised by raising the cost of the duck stamp all migrating waterfowl hunters purchase. A cost borne willingly by hunters, if we don't pay for conservation and protecting species no one else will.
Not only did the Republicans kill the bill they killed it without warning. Everyone was already popping the corks Monday afternoon, planning out how to marry the house and senate bill as quickly as possible. Was this a reaction of a pissed off GOP senate? Some think so. What better way to fling a little poo around than to throw a wrench in the works of the signature bill of that fat farmer from eastern Montana with the funny haircut.
Senator John Testor, one of the best buds the hook and bullet crowd ever had.
Will hunters and shooters remember all this come election day? I doubt it, but the NRA might. They'll still be BFF, but they'll be looking at each other in a different way.