The NRA vs. AMERICA
Compiled by Beverly Bandler
Americans have to decide whether the National Rifle Association and the gun industry should continue to corrupt and control our political system—whether the NRA with an estimated 3 million membership and a management dominated by firearms manufacturers should elect politicians and determine public policy for 315 million.
The NRA has morphed from a group that represented gun owners into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like assault rifles.
The NRA is not only out of touch with mainstream America, it is out of touch with its own members. NRA members (a good many of whom appear to have been coerced to join) are much more rational than the management of the non-democratic, top-down, hierarchical NRA. A May 2012 poll revealed moderation on behalf of its members: three out of four believed that background checks should be completed before every gun purchase. Nearly two-thirds supported a requirement that gun owners alert police when their firearms are lost or stolen.
NRA’s corporate patrons include 22 firearms manufacturers, 12 of which are makers of assault weapons with household names like Beretta and Ruger. Donors from the industry and other dark reaches of the corporate world have funneled some $52 million to the NRA in recent years.
The NRA CEO, Wayne LaPierre, serves at the pleasure of a 76-member board that is stocked with industry brass, and which is all but self-perpetuating. Only one-third of the board’s membership is up for re-election in any given year. Voting is limited to the NRA’s honored “lifetime” members and to dues-payers with at least five consecutive years of being in good standing. The NRA’s 10-member nominating committee – one of whose members is the CEO of Freedom Group, which manufactures the Bushmaster semiautomatic that Adam Lanza used to slaughter children in Newtown.
The NRA political contributions totaled $2,850,033 between 2003 and 2012, 74 percent of which went to the Republican Party, according to Follow the Money.org. In the 2012 political races, the total percentage of contributions that went to the GOP: 88%.
The NRA’s traditional, regulated PAC is strong as ever. It spent $16.6 million in national political races in 2012. It was joined by a newly empowered NRAILA, which kicked in an additional $7.4 million from undisclosed sources, making the NRA the eighth-largest dark-money group in the country.
Primary Source: “The NRA vs. America” by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone.