(Multiple Mass Shootings)
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Since its founding in 1871, the National Rifle Association, who in December 2018, claimed a membership of 5 million, has lobbied against gun legislation.
The NRA has suggested, most recently after the Stoneman Douglas High School and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, that armed security guards be added to schools.
Some observers and lawmakers see the NRA as one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington. Over its history the organization has influenced legislation, participated in or initiated lawsuits, and endorsed or opposed various candidates at local, state and federal levels.
Prior to the l970s, the NRA was nonpartisan. During the l970s, it became increasingly aligned with the Republican Party. After 1977, the organization expanded its membership heavily on political issues and forming coalitions with conservative politicians. Most of these are Republicans.
In 1994, the NRA unsuccessfully opposed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), but successfully lobbied for the ban’s 2004 expiration.
The NRA has been described as influential in shaping American gun control policy by influencing legislators’ voting behavior through its financial resources and ability to mobilize its large membership. The organization has not lost a major battle over gun control legislation since the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. At the federal level, the NRA successfully lobbied Congress in the mid-1990s to effectively halt governments-sponsored research into the public health effects of firearms, and to ensure the passage of legislation in 2005 largely immunizing gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits. At the same time, the NRA stopped efforts at the federal level to increase regulation of firearms. At the state and local level, the NRA successfully campaigned to deregulate guns, for example by pushing state governments to eliminate the ability of local governments to regulate guns and removing restrictions on guns in public places (such as bars and campuses).
By 1976, as the NRA became more politically-oriented, the Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), was established as a subsidiary to the NRA, to support NRA-friendly politicians. Through the NRA-PVF, the NRA began to rate political candidates on their positions on gun rights. An NRA “A+” candidate is one who has “not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment”, whereas an NRA “F” candidate is deemed a “true enemy of gun owners’ rights”.
A 2017 poll conducted by the political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions, which supports gun control, exclusively questioned 661 gun owners. 26% of the respondents stated they were a member of the NRA. The ARS reported that less than 50% of gun owners polled believed that NRA represented their interests, while 68% of them somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement that it had been “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission.” Recent polling trends show a significant decline in NRA favorability. (Editor’s note: Per many sites, among them https://www.ammoland.com/2018/07/dont-believe-fake-polls-about-the-gun-control-views-of-nra-members/#axzz65n55xJ9i, the NRA membership list is a closed list, so pollsters never really know if they are even actually talking to NRA members or not).
The NRA has been criticized by newspaper editorial boards, gun control and gun rights advocacy groups, political commentators, and politicians. Democrats and liberals frequently criticize the organization. The NRA’s oldest organized critics include the gun control advocacy groups the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Violence Policy Center. Twenty-first century groups include Every-town for Gun Safety (formerly Mayors against Illegal Guns), Moms Demand Action, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.
After the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and 851 injured, the NRA was initially criticized for their silence. After four days they issued a statement opposing additional gun control laws, which they said would not stop further attacks, and calling for a federal law allowing people who have a concealed carry permit in one state to carry concealed weapons in all other states. The organization also suggested additional regulations on so-called “bump stocks,” which allow a semi-automatic weapon to function like a machine gun; the Las Vegas shooter had used such a device.
Such influence in the political process of this country, supported by unlimited financial resources, has converted the NRA into a nefarious organization working only to protect gun manufacturers and their own political interests.
- A 2018 poll showed that a majority of the population of New York (not exactly a bastion of conservative thought) supported the use of armed guards in public schools. https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2018/03/29/most-new-yorkers-want-armed-guards-in-public-schools-according-to-a-new-poll/
- In civilian training, the NRA continues to be the leader in firearms education. Over 125,000 certified instructors now train about 1,000,000 gun owners a year. Courses are available in basic rifle, pistol, shotgun, muzzleloading firearms, personal protection, and even ammunition reloading. Additionally, nearly 7,000 certified coaches are specially trained to work with young competitive shooters. Since the establishment of the lifesaving Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program in 1988, more than 28 million pre-kindergarten to fourth grade children have learned that if they see a firearm in an unsupervised situation, they should “STOP. DON’T TOUCH. RUN AWAY. TELL A GROWNUP.” While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America’s foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the NRA has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But the NRA successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service that nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs. As former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos said, “Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They’re good citizens. They call their congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.”
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