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Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:13 PM

Whom Does the NRA Really Speak For?

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/12/whom-does-the-nra-really-speak-for/266373/

Whom Does the NRA Really Speak For?
By Jordan Weissmann

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IT SPEAKS FOR GUN MAKERS

But membership fees don't pay the NRA's bills alone. In recent years, the group has become more aggressive about seeking donations, both from individuals and corporations, and that in turn has led it to become more deeply entwined with the gun industry. In 2010, it received $71 million in contributions, up from $46.3 million in 2004. Some of that money came from small-time donors, who've received a barrage of fundraising appeals warning of President Obama's imminent plot to gut the Second Amendment and confiscate Americans' firearms. But around 2005, the group began systematically reaching out to its richest members for bigger checks through its "Ring of Freedom" program, which also sought to corral corporate donors. Between then and 2011, the Violence Policy Center estimates that the firearms industry donated as much as $38.9 million to the NRA's coffers. The givers include 22 different gun makers, including famous names like Smith & Wesson, Beretta USA, SIGARMS, and Sturm, Ruger & Co. that also manufacture so-called assault weapons.

Some of that funding has given the NRA a direct stake in gun and ammo sales. As Bloomberg noted in its January article, Sturm, Ruger & Co. launched a campaign to sell one million guns, and promised to donate $1 of each purchase to the group. Since 1992, MidWay USA, which retails gun supplies including ammo and controversial high-capacity magazines, has allowed its customers to round up each of their online and mail orders to the nearest dollar, and automatically donate the extra to the NRA. Together with other companies that have joined the effort, MidWay has helped collect more than $9 million for NRA. MidWay's owner, Larry Pottfield, also happens to be the the group's largest individual donor.

These connections have fueled the theory among some gun-control advocates that the NRA is just another corporate front. That might theoretically explain why the group has opposed politically popular measures such as requiring background checks at gun shows and banning sales to people on the terrorist watch list, proposals that even its own members have been found to support. For gun makers, the fewer rules, the better.

"They translate the industry's needs into less crass, less economically interested language -- into defending the home, into defending the country," Tom Diaz, the Violence Policy Center's senior policy analyst, told me in an interview. One example, he said, was concealed carry laws, which the NRA promotes as self-defense measures. As Diaz explained, letting private citizens carry their handguns in public also just happened to allow firearms manufacturers to make and market new, smaller weapons with higher calibers.

snip//

IT SPEAKS FOR RIGHT-WING IDEOLOGUES

Or is it to keep them frightened? In his tell-all memoir, Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist, former NRA operative and consultant Richard Feldman argued that the group had degenerated into "a cynical, mercenary political cult," that was "obsessed with wielding power while relentlessly squeezing contributions from its members." Manipulating the fears of impassioned gun owners helped keep their wallets open, and helped to fund the rich pay packages for executives like LaPierre, who pocketed nearly $1 million in 2010.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Whom Does the NRA Really Speak For? (Original post)
babylonsister Dec 2012 OP
julian09 Dec 2012 #1
Hoyt Dec 2012 #2
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2012 #6
Hoyt Dec 2012 #7
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2012 #10
Hoyt Dec 2012 #11
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2012 #12
Hoyt Dec 2012 #13
Fire Walk With Me Dec 2012 #3
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #4
Mr. Mojo Risen Dec 2012 #5
Zoeisright Dec 2012 #8
OneMoreDemocrat Dec 2012 #9

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:27 PM

1. 4 million NRA members is a small part of 300 million population.

 

Wake up America, don't let the tail wag the dog. If legislators are more concerned about their NRA rating or Norquist pledge should not
be allowed to represent the people. They will represent people on both sides of issues in their districts but will have to come down on one side in the end. That should reflect the will of the people not the size of the contribution by special interests. Govt of the people, for the people, by the people.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:36 PM

2. Gun lovers everywhere. Millions more support them, but too broke to pay dues.

Spent all their money on guns and ammo, supporting gun manufacturers and gun stores, that in turn support NRA.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:32 PM

6. Oh will you fucking stop already... So owning guns is outright support for the NRA but the only

reason I don't contribute to their causes is because I'm too broke? Fuck. Me. To. Tears.

For the Nth fucking time, I don't read their stuff, don't visit their website; don't support them in any fucking way whatsoever. Oh, and I guess because it needs to be stated outright; I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the NRA. In fact, the ONLY thing I know about their "talking points" is what I've read stated by DUers accusing other DUers of using them.

I support registration, enhanced background checks that include every member of a gun owner's household, laws requiring proper and safe storage of guns, regulation of semi-automatic rifles, and criminal penalties if a gun is not reported when stolen or lent and subsequently used in a crime.

So believing that the Second Amendment confers no rights upon me whatsoever is an NRA talking point, right? Believing that the Second Amendment (along with most of the rest of the Bill of Rights) is merely a list of things the government CANNOT do to me (such as infringe upon my right to own firearms for whatever reason I choose) is an NRA talking point, right?

Only one of the guns I own is younger than I am, and it's the only one I've ever purchased. Yet here you are, making a general statement that I've spent all my money on guns and ammo, thereby supporting gun manufacturers and gun stores and by association, the NRA. That's a little bit like saying because I own a 1972 Chevy Blazer, I support GM and THEIR pet causes.

I don't understand how it's lost on you that YOUR extremism is what's polarizing the issue so much here at DU. You and the one who idolizes the billionaire who purchased the office of mayor in New York City, and the ones who state in no uncertain terms their belief that good Democrats who own guns have the blood of at least 20 children on their hands. DON'T tell me you haven't seen those claims; you know they've been posted here.

You stifle discussion by calling anyone who doesn't agree with you an NRA supporter, then make statements like the one you made above... that the only reason most gun owners AREN'T dues paying NRA members is because they can't afford it due to spending "all their money on guns and ammo". Stop with the hyperbole and the cheap insults and reasonable discussion on the issue of gun control legislation just MIGHT be possible.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 04:31 PM

7. You promote more guns, that's supporting NRA.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 04:53 PM

10. And the ONLY reason I'm not a member is because I've already spent "all my money" on guns and ammo

right?

I don't "promote more guns". The six I own are quite sufficient for my needs. Don't let that stop you though!

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:01 PM

11. You are a free-rider. NRA protects your access to guns.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:34 PM

12. Actually, that would be The Bill of Rights.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:43 PM

13. I forgot, you are well regulated and in a milita.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:44 PM

3. K&R!

 

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:52 PM

4. And (no surprise) the Koch Brothers

(June 2012 article)

http://www.loop21.com/politics/koch-brothers-help-fund-nra-trigger-vote-campaign

The Koch Brothers are reportedly planning to bankroll a few very Republican, anti-Obama organizations including the NRA.

According to the Huffington Post:

The NRA’s electoral efforts this year seem to offer an example of how the Kochs' strategy can work, according to the three GOP fundraisers. The NRA, they say, has already received a hefty cash infusion from the Koch donor network this year, enabling the 4 million-member pro-gun behemoth to expand voter registration and get-out-the vote drives.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:05 PM

5. This is huge!

If the NRA were operating solely on membership contributions, then they could make a plausible argument that they are simply a grass roots, pro second amendment organization. The fact that they are taking money from gun manufacturers takes this to a whole other level.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 04:45 PM

8. Eunuchs.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 04:51 PM

9. Great article...

 

Thank you for finding and posting.

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