NRA Gives FCC Chairman Ajit Pai An Award And A Gun For Putting A Bullet In Net Neutrality

Ajit Pai

In the eyes of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai "saved the Internet" by shooting down net neutrality rules that were implemented under the previous administration. Apparently the NRA was so pleased by this that it felt compelled to gift Pai a real life gun, a "Kentucky handmade long gun," as part of its Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award.

The NRA presented the award at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Friday. American Conservative Union (ACU) executive director Dan Schneider was part of the ceremony, telling attendees that "Ajit Pai is the most courageous, heroic person that I know" for "liberat[ing] the Internet," which he and the NRA believes Pai accomplished by stripping away net neutrality rules.

It all seems a bit weird since the NRA doesn't have an obvious connection to net neutrality, and is instead a staunch advocate of gun rights, another hotly debated issue. Even Pai seemed to have been taken off guard by the presentation, though he did thank NRA board member Carolyn Meadows and told her, "I really appreciate it." Whether he truly did appreciate being publicly recognized by the NRA at an obviously sensitive time (because of the Florida school shooting), only Pai knows.

One of the bigger questions here is, why is the NRA concerned about net neutrality? That part is a bit of a mystery as well, though one explanation is that net neutrality has been made into a political issue. Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, voted among Republican party lines to repeal net neutrality rules, essentially reversing regulations that were put in place under and in support of the Obama administration. Despite widespread public support for keeping the rules in place, Pai was successful in his effort, with the FCC voting 3-2 to dismantle net neutrality as currently constructed.

The rifle award is given "when someone has stood up under pressure with grace and dignity and principled discipline," Meadows said. Some would take exception to Pai displaying "grace and dignity" after he participated in a video mocking net neutrality advocates, a video that was made public before the FCC's vote. The video made clear that the FCC was intent on repealing net neutrality, no matter how the population at large felt about it. A separate video also emerged of Pai joking about being a "Verizon puppet" during a private FCC gathering, also prior to the vote.

"[Pai] has received countless death threats. His property has been invaded by the George Soros crowd. He has a family, and his family has been abused in different ways. Chairman Pai, thank you for everything you’ve done," Schneider said.

As an added twist, the NRA was not allowed to bring the Kentucky handmade long gun to the event. It sits at the NRA Museum, along with a plaque, awaiting for Pai to retrieve them.

Top Image Source: YouTube via RWW Blog