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
Illinois: House Passes Bill for Firearm Surrender Without Due Process

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Illinois: House Passes Bill for Firearm Surrender Without Due Process

On May 23rd, the Illinois state House of Representatives voted 80-32 to pass House Amendment 2 to House Bill 2354 to allow Second Amendment rights to be revoked without due process.  HA 2 to HB 2354 now ...

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America's Firearms Industry, National Security

News  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump Administration’s Proposed Rulemakings a Win-Win for America's Firearms Industry, National Security

On Thursday, the Trump Administration published two rulemakings designed to enhance the competitiveness of American companies in the firearms and ammunition sectors, remove burdens for small businesses, and modernize export controls for the post-Cold War ...

Gun Rights Were Expanded: Once Again, No Problems

News  

Second Amendment  

Gun Laws  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Gun Rights Were Expanded: Once Again, No Problems

As readers of our legislative alerts are only too aware, whenever NRA efforts to create more freedoms for law-abiding gun owners, anti-gun lawmakers and activists immediately begin repeating their doom-and-gloom mantra that the streets will ...

Anti-gun Political Correctness Imperils Monument to Medal of Honor Recipient

News  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Anti-gun Political Correctness Imperils Monument to Medal of Honor Recipient

As difficult as it may seem, anti-gun tactics have reached a pathetic new low. We regret to report that some on the anti-gun left, in their fanatical intolerance of all things firearms, now find it ...

West Coast Plutocrats Target Washington State Gun Owners… Again

Friday, May 25, 2018

West Coast Plutocrats Target Washington State Gun Owners… Again

Washington State’s would-be oligarchs are attempting to buy Evergreen Staters’ rights again. Four years after West Coast elites dumped $10 million into the campaign for Initiative 594, which criminalized the private transfer of firearms, some ...

Bloomberg Schools Us on Honesty and Truth

News  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bloomberg Schools Us on Honesty and Truth

Commencement speech season is upon us. College graduations provide this annual platform for the famous, the learned, or the highly successful to share their inspirations, life truths, and wisdom with those who are about to ...

Hard Times for Dick's as Second Amendment Supporters Respond to Company’s Anti-Gun Bent

Hunting  

News  

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hard Times for Dick's as Second Amendment Supporters Respond to Company’s Anti-Gun Bent

We have recently been reporting on the bizarre anti-gun activism of one of the nation’s larger firearm retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods and its affiliated Field & Stream stores. First, the company announced it would stop selling most centerfire semi-automatic ...

Washington: NRA Files Legal Challenge Against Misleading Ballot Title for Gun Control Initiative

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Washington: NRA Files Legal Challenge Against Misleading Ballot Title for Gun Control Initiative

Yesterday, NRA filed a legal challenge in the Thurston County Superior Court objecting to the misleading and inadequate ballot title for Initiative 1639, which seeks to further restrict the Second Amendment rights of Washington's law-abiding citizens.  The Thurston ...

Oregon: Gun Ban Initiative Ballot Title Finalized

Friday, May 25, 2018

Oregon: Gun Ban Initiative Ballot Title Finalized

On May 23rd, the ballot title for Initiative Petition 43 was certified by the state Attorney General.  This final ballot title comes after over 1,000 comments were submitted on the previously proposed ballot title.  Initiative proponents will ...

Illinois: House Considering New Bill to Shut Down Your Gun Store

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Illinois: House Considering New Bill to Shut Down Your Gun Store

Today, the Illinois state House Judiciary-Criminal Committee voted 8-3 to pass Senate Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 337, which would shut down your local gun stores with onerous red tape and regulations.  Governor Bruce Rauner ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.