There was a time, back before the late 1970s, when the National Rifle Association (NRA) represented their members. But not anymore.
Once they fully re-entered the world of politics on the heels of the Cincinnati Revolt, they became corrupted by the very special interest politics from which they claim to protect their members.
With their decision to reject the calculated negotiation of their previous "old guard" board members, who for example, came out publicly in support of a proposed ban on .38 Specials by then-senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, they embarked upon a "no compromise" plan of action for the future.
This, of course, made them natural allies of the gun manufacturers, who like arms dealers everywhere are far less interested in who they are selling weapons to than that they sell as many weapons as possible.
There is plenty of circumstantial evidence that the NRA's mission has nothing to do with its members, but everything to do with protecting the profits of the gun manufacturers who support the organization with big bucks - not to mention pay the million-dollar-plus salary of the NRA's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre.
After all, those lunches at The Palm aren't going to just pay for themselves.
In the December issue of the American Institute of Philanthropy, its "Charity Rating Guide & Watchdog Report" showed that when including all categories of "compensation" LaPierre came in fourth on the "charity" list with a healthy $1.281 million per year. Apparently, some non-profits can be profitable for some.
In February of 2006, a blog called Gun Guys run by the Freedom States Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization working "to reduce gun violence in America" found that LaPierre's then-million dollar package was the equivalent of 35,000 NRA membership renewals.
One wonders whether these members know that not only are the views of LaPierre and the rest of his leadership team way out of touch with its membership - who overwhelmingly support universal background checks for gun buyers and stopping those on terrorist watch lists from enjoying easy access to firearms (see Part I of this series for poll numbers) - but that they are also subsidizing LaPierre's lavish lifestyle.
This might explain the NRA's need for constant crisis marketing (Obama's coming with the Legion of Doom to take your guns!) to misinform the public at large and shake their members' wallets loose - the NRA's very own "We've got trouble! Right here in River City!" routine.
Of, course, the direct influence that gun manufacturers exert over the NRA and their huge windfalls when there are runs on guns and ammunition, also readily explains the NRA's play to paranoia and fringe politics, and their view that no gun sale is a bad gun sale.
In fact, if you're looking for more than circumstantial evidence, the Center For Public Integrity will make your job easy. This past week they sent out a press release that started in the following manner:
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