GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 31, 2012

Letter: Gun marketing remains NRA's real 'best interest'


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

After my letter regarding the National Rifle Association was printed, the members of the Daily Times’ on line, anonymous, right wing, echo chamber came out with their rhetorical guns blazing.

The one comment that really caught my eye was in response to my assertion that the NRA is far more concerned with protecting the profits of gun manufacturers than it is the Second Amendment rights of law abiding gun owners. That echo chamber member demanded that I, “Prove it.”

So, I set about doing some research. What I found is the NRA really ought to be called the National Rifle “Marketing” Association. In the last several years, the NRA has lobbied both the federal government and state legislatures with great intensity and significant success to weaken or eliminate a variety of regulations on gun ownership.

The NRA has also successfuly brought political pressure to bear on judges in states where they must run for re-election to restore the gun rights of individuals who had those rights taken away because of issues pertaining to their mental health, often with no psychiatric evaluations being done before those gun rights are restored.

The evidence is overwhelming that the gun industry not gun owners, and certainly not public safety, has been the biggest beneficiary of all those efforts. Since 2007, the sales of a wide variety of guns, including assault weapons, have grown by almost 6% annually. This year alone, according to the marketing research group IBISWorld, the U.S. gun industry has reaped more than twelve billion dollars in profits.

In exchange for the NRA’s lobbying efforts, the gun industry has been a generous donor to the organization.

According to the non-profit group the Violence Policy Center, the gun industry has donated somewhere between $14.7 and $38.9 million to the NRA since 2005. That estimate is based on research done on just one NRA program known as the “Ring of Freedom”. Many other independent analyses suggest those estimates do not reflect the true amount of money the gun industry has donated because it refuses to disclose how much money it contributes to the NRA.

Numerous studies, including one conducted by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, have found a majority of NRA members, 69 percent in fact, support some restrictions on gun sales and ownership. So, just whose interests then is the NRA protecting?

Well, if you follow the money, it becomes crystal clear the NRA is far more interested in protecting the profits of the gun manufacturers than it is the Second Amendment rights of law abiding American gun owners. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the 69% of NRA members who support what the NRA’s leadership and top lobbyists so stridently oppose because doing so means a big pay off for that leadership and those lobbyists from gun makers — no matter how many innocents get caught in the crossfire in the meantime.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and Vieques, Puerto Rico