National Rifle Association
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“”I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.
|—Karl Frederick, NRA President, 1934|
“”The NRA is a marketing organization, and its flagship product is fear.
The National Rifle Association (or NRA) is a political action group that has sold more guns than Sam Colt and Bill Ruger. Originally a relatively moderate organisation, it no longer represents hunters and collectors, having been taken over by investment groups that own large percentages of most firearms/ammo companies. Not surprisingly, it promotes ownership of guns in the United States at all costs, has a knee-jerk reaction against the most mild gun control legislation, or even the enforcement of existing gun laws.
They are not well known for teaching their members how to properly debate (shout at) increased gun control proponents, and as a result, most members resort to clichés such as "guns don't kill people, people kill people," "a bad guy with a gun can only be stopped by a good guy/woman/toddler(?) with a gun," and other empty platitudes. Their ultimate goal is to create a world where it's socially acceptable to be armed at all times, and if a "citizen" circling your neighborhood with a boom stick makes you uncomfortable, you're a cuck who hates freedom. (Of course, if it was a good black guy doing the exact same thing with the exact same motive, the situation would be handled much differently.)
After the Sandy Hook massacre, which claimed 20 children as victims, the NRA finally shut up... for a few days. Many naively hoped that they had finally come to their senses, but instead, the group used their next meeting to call for more guns to stop gun violence and blamed the massacre on everything but guns, including mental illness, violent video games, and movies. While clamouring for a national mental health database, they naturally recoil at the thought of a gun registry and as of this writing, their National Firearms Museum, which glorifies violent movies, is still open for business.
The NRA also has a 500+ entry-long list of people and organizations who have ever lent support to anti-gun initiatives. With luminary freedom haters such as the American Medical Association, PBS, and Hallmark, and notorious anti-gun celebrities like... Sylvester Stallone, it's probably easier to say who is not on this list. Nixon at least tried to keep his enemies list secret.
As seen from the two terms of the Obama administration, "No new laws" somehow means "future gun control laws" for those guys. This despite the fact that the related constitutional amendment purportedly allowing gun ownership does not explicitly define what "arms" are. (Suitcase nukes anyone?)
This contrasts with the NRA's stance during the Clinton years, when they advocated more vigorous enforcement of existing gun laws as an alternative to passing new ones.
Board member eyebrow-raisers
The NRA has an insanely large board of directors (76 members!), and has included many questionable people on it, such as noted traitor Oliver North, a spokesman for gun manufacturer Glock (supporting accusations of the NRA having too-close ties to gun manufacturers), the perpetually batshit Ted Nugent, Larry Craig (of "I am not gay..." fame), and Grover Norquist (because no mainstream right-wing group is complete without a guy who really, really hates taxes).
Charlton Heston was a former president of the NRA, famous for his "cold dead hands" speech. The group's main talking head is Wayne LaPierre, a perennial member/vice president prone to conspiracy theory, groupthink, and pulling bullshit out of his ass. Despite his media reputation as the "craziest man on earth", he's actually a donnish businessman, just like any other fearmonger you can think of.
Exaggerated political power
The NRA has long been viewed as a mighty Goliath in US politics — politicians feared their piles of lobbying money and the wrath of their 4 million-strong membership base. However, in the aftermath of the Aurora and Sandy Hook massacres, their self-proclaimed political influence and membership figures have fallen under scrutiny.
The NRA's membership figures are also suspect. They usually claim about 4 million members, but reports from insiders, and from outsiders reading between the lines, suggests these numbers are greatly inflated. The NRA has a very loose definition of "membership" that includes gun purchasers automatically enrolled in the NRA as a promotional gimmick, long-dead members, and subscribers to their magazines. The best guess as to their true size is at most 3.1 million.
On top of this, the NRA is suffering internal problems, with a large disconnect between what its official leadership, who are far too cozy with the gun industry, wants, and its own membership base. As a result, not only is it spending its lobbying money ineffectually, but it can no longer even count on its own members to vote in support of its policies.
Activities that aren't (too) political
The NRA supports firearms education for both children and adults. They occasionally make contributions to the Boy Scouts of America and other organizations. Despite their highly politicized nature, their education programs are usually sound in both concept and execution and do a generally good job teaching the fundamentals and importance of firearms safety. This, of course, is doing fuck all to reduce the proportion of gun crime.
In response to the "left" pointing out that prayer and belief in a deity wasn't going to solve the mass shooting problem, the NRA tried to expose the "Godless Left", stating "These saboteurs share the same fanatical fervor to tear apart the foundations of America as the terrorists who threaten our very survival. And together, they march hand-in-hand toward the possible, purposeful destruction of us all." even going as far as to call certain leftist media "false prophets" and "infidels of freedom" as well as several similar claims about the left and their attacks on American values.
- The NRA's president supported "sharply restricting” guns in 1934. Then its members revolted. by Andrew Prokop on August 27, 2015, 4:13 p.m. ET Vox.
- The Evolution of the NRA's Defense of Guns: A Brief History of the NRA's Involvement in Legislative Discussions By Cory Bennett (December 21, 2012) National Journal.
- "How to Break NRA’s Grip on Politics", Bloomberg
- Well, people frantically screaming that Obummer is "coming for your guns, any minute now!" for the past 8 years did more towards that end than anything the NRA did. They ought to be thanking him.
- West, Lindy, "Wayne LaPierre Needs to Stop Pretending He Gives a Shit About Rape Victims", Jezebel.
- Bill Hutchinson and Daniel Beekman, "http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/kidding-nra-pushes-guns-kids-young-newtown-victims-sick-youth-day-article-1.1335901 "NRA pushes guns on kids as young as Newtown victims in sick 'Youth Day'", NY Daily news 5.5.13.
- McCarthy, Clara, "Concealed Carry Is Now Legal in All 50 States, and the NRA Doesn’t Want Us to Know What That Really Means", Salon 7.11.13.
- Montopoli, Brian, "NRA's Wayne LaPierre: "Government Policies Are Getting us Killed"", CBS 2.10.11.
- Friedman, Dan, "NRA’s Wayne LaPierre tells supporters guns and contributions can protect them from murderers and Michael Bloomberg", NY Daily News 4.25.14.
- Winkler, Adam, "Gun Control Is "Racist"? The NRA would know, New Republic 2.4.13.
- NRA Slams Violent Pop Culture, Even as it Puts on ‘Hollywood Guns’ Exhibit, ThinkProgress
- NRA's enemies list: Most of America, CNN
- Meet the NRA's Board of Directors, Mother Jones
- Blanc, Nancy, "Wayne LaPierre Wasn't Always A Crazy Gun Nut — But When He's Reasonable, No One Listens", Bloomberg2.9.15.
- "The N.R.A. has been increasingly flexing political muscle, with both Democrats and Republicans courting its favor and avoiding its wrath." —The New York Times, December 21, 2012.
- The Gun Lobby: Why The NRA Is The Baddest Force In Politics, Huffington Post
- "Election Day Brings Wins For Gun Owners"
- Outside spenders' return on investment, Sunlight Foundation
- Does the NRA Really Have 4 Million Members?, Mother Jones
- This is not your father’s NRA, Politico
- Why the NRA Is Becoming the 'Great Oz', Huffington Post
- Americans, even NRA members, want gun reforms, CNN
- "NRA & BSA—100 Years of Partnership"
- If you trust the evil UN!
- Or those crazy Canucks!
- Or the National Institute of Justice!
- Or a shockingly-well cited Wikipedia!