ONTD Political

Gun lobby has laid groundwork against any new laws

7:46 am - 12/18/2012

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - A cacophony of calls to change gun laws has emerged after last week's tragedy in Connecticut, and the National Rifle Association has kept quiet.

But no one expects silence from the NRA once President Obama or members of Congress make any move to change the laws.

For years, the well-known gun rights advocate and lobbying group has laid the ground work to ward off any move to change national gun policy, spending millions of dollars to kill laws that would make it tougher to buy or wield guns.

Enlisting celebrities such as Chuck Norris and the late Charlton Heston as spokesmen, the NRA is considered royalty in Washington, and is known to easily mobilize its 4 million members.

"The whole fire arms community is very powerful, because gun owners see their relationship to this democracy through the eyes of the gun issue," said Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist and president of a gun rights group called the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

The NRA did not respond to requests for comment and hasn't issued a press statement since the massacre of 20 school children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

This year, the NRA spent $17 million on federal elections. It's a considerable amount when compared to the size of the industry. Annual gun sales in the U.S. total about $3.5 billion, according to estimates from Wedbush Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio.

Compared to that, Goldman Sachs corporate political action committee and employees spent a total of $7.5 million on candidates running in the November election. The investment bank raked in $29 billion last year.

"But Goldman Sachs doesn't have 4 million members who are very passionate, vocal and well-distributed from coast to coast," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director for the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that tracks political spending. "Certainly money is part of that, but the NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, because they can draw on such a huge base."

The NRA didn't fare so well in the latest election -- only a handful of the candidates it supported won, according to the Center. But experts say the NRA is in strong shape to defend against any move to limit assault rifles like the one used in Friday's school shooting.

The NRA has flexed its muscles well in the past. It managed to push through new laws relaxing gun bans in national parks and Amtrak trains in 2009, a year when Democrats pledging stronger gun control laws controlled both Congress and the White House.

And while President Obama has renewed his commitment to reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons, he has shied away from taking on the gun lobby.

"President Obama did everything in his power to keep from making the gun issue the defining issue in the past campaign," Feldman said. "If Congress goes after the lawful ownership of guns, they'll deal with very difficult re-election campaigns in coming years."

But on Sunday, two days after the shooting, Obama said in a speech at Newtown: "If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that - then surely we have an obligation to try."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California on Sunday said she would introduce a bill next month to ban assault weapons and limit magazines to 10 rounds. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, also said he would reintroduce legislation to get rid of high capacity magazines.

Gun manufacturers have thrown their money and support to gun rights policy, through the NRA over the years. Sturm, Ruger & Company donated more that $1.2 million to the NRA in April, after pledging to donate $1 for each new Ruger firearm sold between the 2011 and 2012.
Corporate sponsors involved with a campaign called "Friends of the NRA," include gun makers Winchester and Smith & Wesson, guns and ammunition retailers Midway USA and Benelli, and outdoor gear suppliers Brunton Hunting, Hunter's Specialties and Legacy Quest and Boyt Harness Company, according to the NRA's website.

By Jennifer Liberto. December 18, 2012: 5:25 AM ET

ragnor144 18th-Dec-2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
Here in central Michigan we have quite a few individuals and groups that say they need assault rifles for when Obama comes to throw them in FEMA concentration camps. These people who have planned to kill judges and cops and then open fire on the funerals. These are exactly the people who shouldn't have weapons and I dare an NRA gun nut to defend why they should without using the fallacious "slippery slope" argument.

See this upstanding group of gun owners: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutaree
angelus7988 18th-Dec-2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
Seriously. I file people who demand the right to ginormous magazines and military-grade weapons as belonging to one of the following groups: man-children who view guns as toys and nothing more, people who fantasize about gunning someone down in "self-defense" since that's the socially-accepted method of killing someone, or nutjobs like you mention who want to overthrow the government and establish a little fiefdom to assuage their deflated egos. Actually, male inadequacy applies to all aforementioned groups.
4o5pastmidnight 19th-Dec-2012 03:19 am (UTC)
You forgot "men with really small penises who need the biggest gun possible to compensate and try and convince us they're packing"

Edited at 2012-12-19 03:20 am (UTC)
farchivist 18th-Dec-2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
In related news, NRA takes down Facebook page, stops tweets after Sandy Hook. Seems the NRA is running scared.
corinn 18th-Dec-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Tactical retreat to regroup? Maybe to look at media claims NRA members support several reforms and suss out which ones it would be in their interest to support to keep major reforms from happening? There have been a few news programs and online instances of NRA members saying they support reform. Or maybe they've realized this was horrific enough that the public is already furious and anything they say will just fan the flames of those who support gun control?
hellaine 19th-Dec-2012 04:08 am (UTC)
Well, they always maintain silence after EVERY mass shooting though, I think it's sort of their policy.
juel1979 19th-Dec-2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
And it's smart, cause no one wants to hear it right now. Plus, anything posted there by anyone else can be misconstrued as coming from them when printed places.
homasse 19th-Dec-2012 07:59 am (UTC)
Sadly, no. They do this every time, pretty much. They go quiet, wait for the fuss to die down and people to move on to the newest thing, and quietly keep on lobbying in the background.
farchivist 19th-Dec-2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
Ah well, one could hope.
apostle_of_eris 18th-Dec-2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure. This could be an opportunity for Obama to be a shrewd politician and constructively exploit the wave of public sentiment.
Not saying he will but it's a great opening.
trojanchick99 18th-Dec-2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
I think he will. It's no coincidence that it's Dianne Feinstein who's leading the charge. She was JUST re-elected, so she can't be removed by gun loving crazies.
thenakedcat 19th-Dec-2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
She's also got one of the safest Senate seats in the Democratic caucus. Claire McCaskill wouldn't sponsor gun control legislation even right after re-election but Feinstein beat her challenger by 20 points. She's pushed through an assault weapons ban before and she's got the motive and opportunity to do so again.
lykomancer 18th-Dec-2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
All I can think about is the people I used to work with and the bugaboo they had up their asses about Obama "coming to take their guns away" even though he'd obvious don't no such thing. Now, if he does try to crack down on guns, those people are gonna lose their shit in an apoplexy of crazy.
hammersxstrings 18th-Dec-2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I hate everything.
tabaqui 18th-Dec-2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
Fuck the NRA. So tired of their shite.
ook 18th-Dec-2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
Charlton Heston can have a debate with a small casket. >:(
soleiltropiques 19th-Dec-2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
I just can't with the NRA.

Did you all know that they act up here in Canada as well? We had a registry on long guns which was introduced by the previous government (i.e. the Liberals) and which was recently repealed by the current Conservative government... with support to pro-gun advocates being provided by the NRA. (There is evidence that this registry has SAVED LIVES up here, police were in favor of it, etc.)

I hope Americans can soon see a day when they won't have to be afraid to be gunned down when they go to the corner store to buy a carton of milk, or have their children assassinated for daring to go to school. I really do.

Godamn NRA fuckers.

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