WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association and the firearms industry are locked and loaded in a mutually beneficial financial relationship that funnels millions into the NRA's coffers, yielding legislative triumphs on Capitol Hill that boost gun sales.
The NRA's "Ring of Freedom" list of corporate donors reads like a who's who of gun, ammunition and ammo magazine manufacturers, shooting accessory providers and retailers.
Among them: Sturm, Ruger & Co. of Southport, Conn.; Smith & Wesson of Springfield, Mass.; and Beretta USA, a subsidiary of the Italian arms manufacturer.
The NRA's website shows that since 2005, corporations have given $19.8 million to $52.6 million -- most of it from the firearms industry.
"This program is geared toward your company's corporate interests," the NRA says in an online solicitation signed by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
Here’s why: For every gun or package of ammunition sold at participating stores, a dollar is donated to the NRA. The NRA’s corporate fundraising division has several special retail partnerships called “Add-A-Buck,” “NRA Round-Up,” and “Shooting for the Future.” In some cases, these deals allow for customers to contribute a dollar or two to the NRA at the point of purchase; others, like one with Sturm, Ruger & Co., the company led by Mike Fifer, require automatic contributions to the NRA with every purchase. Many of these retail deals are linked to the NRA’s 501(c)4 affiliate, which can, unlike other affiliates of the NRA, spend that money on political advertisements and lobbying.