The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Nation & World

May 4, 2013

NRA's new president has penchant for bold words

HOUSTON — The incoming leader of the National Rifle Association has a long history with the powerful gun rights lobby and a penchant for bold statements that are sure to enflame an already explosive national debate over gun control.

James Porter, an Alabama attorney and first vice president of the NRA, assumes the presidency on Monday after the group's national convention wraps up in Houston. He didn't wait until then to ignite a new furor over gun control, telling the NRA grass-roots organizers on Friday they are the front line of a "culture war" that goes beyond gun rights.

"(You) here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors," Porter said.

Porter, 64, whose father was NRA president from 1959-1961, is part of the small, Birmingham, Ala., law firm of Porter, Porter & Hassinger. The firm's website notes its expertise in defending gun manufacturers in lawsuits.

Porter takes over the organization as the NRA finds itself in a national fight over gun control in Washington, D.C., and state capitols around the country. The NRA had a major victory regarding gun control with the defeat in the U.S. Senate of a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales. But it lost ground in some places as several states passed laws expanding background checks and banning large ammunition magazines after December's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Glen Caroline, director of the NRA's grass-roots division, noted the coming fight over gun control in the 2014 elections. "Our senators are on record. They cannot hide from those votes," Caroline said.

As shown by his "culture war" comment Friday and others in his past, Porter's style is likely to be one that fans the flames of an emotionally combustible debate.

Porter has called President Barack Obama a "fake president," Attorney General Eric Holder "rabidly un-American" and the U.S. Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression." On Friday, he repeated his call for training every U.S. citizen in the use of standard military firearms, to allow them to defend themselves against tyranny.

Gun control advocates say Porter makes outgoing NRA President David Keene look like a moderate on gun issues, even though Keene had said the NRA would try to punish lawmakers who voted in favor of expanded background checks and other gun control measures.

Keene had worked to offer a softer, if equally staunch voice for the gun lobby's ideas when compared with Wayne LaPierre, the fiery executive vice president who remains the NRA's most prominent voice on the public stage.

Porter as president, "pulls (the NRA) more into the extremist camp," said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. "With Jim Porter, they've gone full crazy."

But Porter was greeted with rousing applause at the grass-roots organizing meeting, and several in attendance called out, "Hey Big Jim!," as he walked through the crowd.

NRA officials did not respond to a request for comment about Porter taking over the organization. In an interview this week with the Washington Times, Keene called Porter "the perfect match for president" and noted his legal expertise.

Porter has served as a head of the NRA's legal affairs committee. His legal experience will be counted on to help the organization challenge some of the gun control laws passed in several states around the country in court, Keene told the Washington Times.

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • news_skoreaferry.jpg Ferry captain arrested in South Korea disaster

    A prosecutor says the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton visit.jpg Documents: Clinton sought GOP support for health care

    Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton's White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Student struggles to recount fatal truck-bus crash

    Most of the 911 calls from witnesses to last week's fiery truck-bus collision that killed 10 were matter of fact. Then there was the one from a passenger: With shrieks in the background, the student struggled to recount how a truck came roaring toward them.

    April 18, 2014

  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

     A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

    An avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest early Friday, killing at least 12 Nepalese guides and leaving three missing in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak.

    April 18, 2014

  • news_horselesscarriage.jpg Proposed car to replace NYC horse carriages shown

    An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City was presented Thursday at the New York International Auto Show, as critics expressed their distaste for the idea.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_homesickforprison.jpg Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3½ years

    An ex-con who spent most of his adult life behind bars on Thursday got what he said he wanted for robbing a suburban Chicago bank. The 74-year-old gets to go back to the place he called home — prison.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gay Marriage Utah [Duplicate] Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_obamalocalschools.jpg Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

    Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0107 Super WAL-MART 1 Wal-Mart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

    The world's largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium