The NRA's Real Master
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jan 11, 2013
Throughout its 142-year history, the National Rifle Association has portrayed itself as an advocate for the individual gun owner’s Second Amendment rights. In turn, the NRA relied on those gun owners, especially its 4 million or so members, to pressure lawmakers into carrying out its anti-gun control agenda.
In the last two decades, however, the deep-pocketed NRA has increasingly relied on the support of another constituency: the $12-billion-a-year gun industry, made up of manufacturers and sellers of firearms, ammunition and related wares. That alliance was sealed in 2005, when Congress, after heavy NRA lobbying, approved a measure that gave gunmakers and gun distributors broad, and unprecedented, immunity from a wave of liability lawsuits related to gun violence in America’s cities.
It was a turning point for both the NRA and the industry, both of which recognized the mutual benefits of a partnership. That same year, the NRA also launched a lucrative new fundraising drive to secure “corporate partners” that’s raked in millions from the gun industry to boost its operations.
But that alliance, which has grown even closer in recent years -- and includes ties both financial and personal, a Huffington Post examination has found -- has led to mounting questions from gun control advocates about the NRA's priorities. Is the nation’s most potent gun lobby mainly looking out for its base constituency, the estimated 80 million Americans who own a firearm? Or is it acting on behalf of those that make and sell those guns?
According to a 2012 poll conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 74 percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a position that the NRA has stridently opposed.“There’s a big difference between the NRA’s rank and file and the NRA’s Washington lobbyists, who live and breathe for a different purpose,” Mark Glaze, the executive director of the gun control group, said.
The questions about the NRA's ties to the gun industry, and whether those ties have influenced its agenda, have come to the forefront in the wake of horrific mass shootings last year in Connecticut, Colorado and Wisconsin.
A week after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in a Newtown, Conn., school, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president and top lobbyist, gave a tense, combative performance at a press conference in which he signalled the organization wouldn't budge from its long-held opposition to most gun control measures.
#2 Jan 12, 2013
This is the truth.
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