For NRA’s new president, not his father’s gun club
James W. Porter, Jr. assumed the unpaid, but politically important post of president of the National Rifle Association Monday. While the role puts the Birmingham, Ala., attorney for the first time on a national stage, he is hardly an unknown within the gun lobby.
Nearly 20 years ago, I observed Jim Porter in action behind closed doors at an NRA board meeting in Minneapolis. He was committed, boasting to colleagues that “when you open my veins, NRA blood runs out.”
But he was also a “traditionalist” then, on the opposite side of the gun lobby’s more radical rising stars. He had little to prove: his credibility was assured by his legacy status as the son of Irvine C. Porter, who served as NRA president from 1959 to 1960.
Under his father’s leadership, the NRA was still trying to define its national role. Coming out of the violent tumult of the 1960s, NRA leaders voiced support for more gun control, not less.
“The National Rifle Association has been in support of workable, enforceable gun control legislation since its very inception in 1871,” the NRA’s then-paid Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ret. Gen. Franklin L. Orth, wrote in American Rifleman magazine in 1968.
Porter and the NRA have been on a radical journey ever since.
CORRECTION: Original story also identified the late Neal Knox as an Oklahoman National Guardsman. Mr. Knox was born in Oklahoma, and later served in the Texas National Guard.
Please read the full story here: http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/05/06/for-nras-new-president-not-his-fathers-gun-club/
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