Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

NRA Doesn’t ‘Buy’ Politicians, but Gun Controllers Do

Friday, October 20, 2017

NRA Doesn’t ‘Buy’ Politicians, but Gun Controllers Do

The gun control movement often exhibits a dearth of critical thinking skills. Nowhere is this more apparent than in much of the gun control community’s insistence on claiming that NRA has the resources and ability to “buy” politicians.

Whenever gun control enters the national spotlight anti-gun activists and the media level this lazy charge. Editorial pages are replete with cartoons depicting unscrupulous politicians being swayed by NRA cash. Following the tragedy in Las Vegas, the New York Times and Washington Post produced lists of politicians who had received NRA donations. In a recent error-filled monologue, late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel claimed that NRA had some lawmakers’ privates “in a money clip.”

Aside from the silliness of such arguments from a movement that is in large part bank-rolled by a single billionaire, more sophisticated observers from across the political spectrum understand that lavish donations to lawmakers is not how NRA influences public policy. In a recent piece addressing this topic, National Review Editor Jonah Goldberg took issue with the Washington Post’s list of NRA donees, which claimed, “Since 1998, the National Rifle Association has donated $4.23 million to current members of Congress.” Putting NRA’s contributions in context, Goldberg explained, 

In terms of lobbying and political contributions, the NRA and the gun industry generally spend next to nothing compared with the big players. According to OpenSecrets, the NRA spent $1.1 million on contributions in 2016 and $3 million on lobbying. The food and beverage industry has spent $14 million on lobbying in 2017 alone. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $9 million on contributions in 2016.

Goldberg went on to note,

The simple reality is that the NRA doesn’t need to spend a lot of money convincing politicians to protect gun rights. All it needs to do is spend a little money clarifying that a great many of those politicians’ constituents care deeply about gun rights.

An October 2015 New Yorker article by James Surowiecki came to a similar conclusion. The piece quoted UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler, who explained why NRA is able to influence politicians without spending as much as other interest groups, stating, “N.R.A. members are politically engaged and politically active. They call and write elected officials, they show up to vote, and they vote based on the gun issue.”

A few of the more honest gun control advocates acknowledge this reality. In 2016, the president of Global Strategy Group, who was hired to consult for gun control group Americans for Responsible Solution, said to Politico, “[NRA’s] money isn’t that big… It’s not what they do. Their power rests in their stupid postcards and their ability to terrorize members on the Hill and have them panicked about their rating.”

Gun control supporters who peddle the myth about NRA money aren’t only wrong, they are ignoring team gun control’s own sordid history of buying politicians. And forget Michael Bloomberg for the moment, gun control supporters have purchased lawmakers using taxpayer dollars.

In a recently published Daily Beast podcast, Patrick Griffin, who served as assistant to the President for legislative affairs during the Clinton Administration, shed light on how government resources were used to secure votes for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which included the federal “assault weapons” ban.

Gun control supporters who peddle the myth about NRA money aren’t only wrong, they are ignoring team gun control’s own sordid history of buying politicians. And forget Michael Bloomberg for the moment, gun control supporters have purchased lawmakers using taxpayer dollars.

Explaining how the process worked, Griffin told the interviewer, “The candy store was a little more open back then… There were earmarks. There were things that were in the pipeline that you could loosen up. There were plane rides on Air Force One…. We sold anything.”

Getting more specific, Griffin recalled that in exchange for voting for the crime bill one lawmaker “wanted us to invite him to a state dinner with his daughter.” Clarifying, Griffin added, “But he had no daughter… Yes, he wanted to take his girlfriend.” At another point in the podcast, Griffin recalled acquiring another lawmaker’s vote for the crime bill by getting the Secretary of the Interior to advance the approval process on a Native American casino in the member’s district.

Griffin’s account is similar to one offered in April 2013 by an individual Politico described as “an official with one of the major gun-control groups” following the failed Manchin/Toomey/Schumer background check vote. The gun control official told the publication, “Bribery isn’t what it once was… The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”

Sadly, given that mounting evidence of the invalidity of the myth about NRA buying influence hasn’t been enough to deter gun controllers from repeating this fallacy, it’s unlikely that exposing their rank hypocrisy will either.

TRENDING NOW
Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

News  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.

When Gun Control Fails

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Gun Control Fails

Gun control is pushed as a strategy to keep Americans safe in their homes, schools and workplaces. It is presented as the key component in safer streets, neighborhoods and families. But what happens when gun ...

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, November 3, 2017

This Man Did Not Write A Second (Class) Amendment

Courts are telling gun owners that they must choose between their Second Amendment-protected rights and their other constitutional rights. 

New Evidence against Gun Confiscation

News  

Second Amendment  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Evidence against Gun Confiscation

We recently discussed the selection of input variables for statistical modeling and how such choices can alter one’s findings. New research published in the Journal of Experimental Criminology examines how the choice in methodology can alter one’s findings. 

Revolving Door Of Wrong Solutions

News  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Revolving Door Of Wrong Solutions

There are plenty of pundits who also seem more enamored with the idea of doing something big than doing something that works. The Boston Globe recently devoted space to the argument that “if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s ...

Less Complaining And More Encouraging

News  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Less Complaining And More Encouraging

It seems a little dramatic to blame these fine folks for the entire five hours. It can be assumed that there was no camera covering the specific area where the killings occurred and some period ...

Free Beacon  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gabby Giffords’s Gun Control Group Releases Report Warning of Muzzleloaders, Other Firearms

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords's gun control group released a report on Wednesday warning of the dangers of muzzle loading rifles, a number of other firearms, and some firearms accessories and calling for new gun control ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Congress Needs to Hear from YOU on National Right to Carry!

News  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Congress Needs to Hear from YOU on National Right to Carry!

With the clock ticking, it’s now more necessary than ever to ensure Congress prioritizes action on national reciprocity.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.