National Rifle Association

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights and opposes gun control.




  • [The] National Rifle Association is always arguing that the Second Amendment determines the right to bear arms. But I think it really is the people's right to bear arms in a militia. The NRA thinks it protects their right to have Teflon-coated bullets. But that's not the original understanding.
    • Robert Bork, in Miriam Bensimhorn, Advocates: Point and Counterpoint, Laurence Tribe and Robert Bork Debate the Framers' Spacious Terms, LIFE magazine, Fall 1991 (Special Issue).


  • You know, we can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles -- it's something I strongly support -- we can't be so fixated on that that we are unable to think about the reality of life that millions of Americans face on streets that are unsafe, under conditions that no other nation—no other nations—has permitted to exist. And at some point, I still hope that the leadership of the National Rifle Association will go back to doing what it did when I was a boy and which made me want to be a lifetime member because they put out valuable information about hunting and marksmanship and safe use of guns. But just to know of the conditions we face today in a lot of our cities and other places in this country and the enormous threat to public safety is amazing.


  • While the National Rifle Association promotes Mr. Heston as a kinder, gentler face to soften its hard-core image, he is as extreme as the rest of the group's leadership. A Heston speech last December before the ultraconservative Free Congress Foundation in Washington was so hateful that David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, praised it and circulated it on his Web site.
    In his remarks, Mr. Heston repeatedly invoked "cultural 'warfare, spoke warmly of "white pride" and attacked "blacks who raise a militant fist with one hand while they seek preference with the other." He also compared criticism of gun owners and the N.R.A. to the Nazi oppression of European Jews.
    Whether Mr. Heston does the talking or not, the National Rifle Association remains the same extremist organization that blocks sensible gun laws and markets guns to children.


  • Charlton Heston...recently was re-elected president of the NRA for the third term. And they made an exception, because their charter, their constitution, says you can only have two terms, but they changed it. Ah. So constitutions can change. Interesting. Because it is called the Second Amendment. The word "amendment" itself means, "We had another thought! We re-thought something!"


  • To the NRA, true friends means Republican friends, as can be seen in the NRA’s endorsements when faced with two “pro-gun” candidates. In its traditional pre-election frenzy, the NRA’s magazines featured profiles of Republicans George Allen, Rick Santorum, and Conrad Burns, touting them over Democrats Jim Webb, Bob Casey and Jon Tester, respectively. The gun group was particularly hysterical about the need to defeat to Jim Webb. “This November, it is critical that all freedom-loving Virginians vote to re-elect Sen. George Allen,” the NRA admonished voters in the Old Dominion State.
    The gun lobby’s allegiance to Republicans also shows in its political giving. In 2006, the NRA’s PAC gave 85 percent of its campaign contributions to Republican candidates while Gun Owners of America gave 100 percent to Republicans. In addition, Republican activists Grover Norquist, David Keene, and Ollie North serve on the NRA’s board of directors in addition to current and former Republican Members of Congress.


  • Perhaps more important than the unions’ recognition of the NRA’s below-the-radar support of big business—tort “reform” anyone?—is the fact that this announcement is the latest manifestation of the fact that the NRA doesn’t actually represent the interests of the vast bulk of American gun owners. For most gun owners—hunters and sport shooters—guns are just one part of their lives. The NRA’s caters to, and depends on, the small percentage (granted, a percentage large enough to make the NRA one of the most potent lobbies in the nation) of gun owners for whom guns are their whole life. Despite whatever lip service the NRA pays to the “hook and bullet” crowd, their leadership and activist base live by the bumper sticker credo, “The Second Amendment Isn’t About Duck Hunting.” Driven by what is known in pro-gun circles as “the NATO strategy”—an attack on any category of firearm is an attack on all firearms—the NRA leadership spends its time fighting gun controls of any type, while merely giving lip service to conservation issues. This constant tension—between the sport shooters and the so-called Second Amendment activists—has now broken into the open.
  • My distant ancestor, Major Gen. Ambrose Burnside, was the first president of the National Rifle Association. Gen. Burnside would have liked Lori Francis. He would have liked her heart and passion. Gen. Burnside would not like, however, what his organization has become and what it promotes. The NRA was founded by some old Army officers disappointed by their soldier’s marksmanship skills. Its purpose was `providing firearms training and encouraging interest in the shooting sports.’ It is now a gun-promoting juggernaut that appears to suggest that teachers should be armed to combat the growing number of school shootings. I don’t think my ancestor would approve of the NRA’s solution to stopping violence in America today...Regardless of who pulled the trigger, I blame the gun. Guns were invented with the specific purpose to kill. People were not. Disturbed people pull triggers, but do not directly send speeding bullets through people’s skin and souls. My friend, University of Charleston alumna Lori Francis, is no longer living because she couldn’t stop the bullet that ended her life.
  • Contrary to the familiar chatter of the gun industry and the gun lobby, firearms ownership has declined dramatically over the past 35 years. From 1972 to 2006, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home has dropped nearly 20 percentage points: from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006. During the period 1980 to 2006, the percentage of Americans who reported personally owning a gun dropped more than nine percentage points: from a high of 30.7 percent in 1985 to a low during the survey period of 21.6 percent in 2006. Or to look at it another way, nearly two thirds of American homes are gun free, and more than three quarters of Americans do not personally own a gun...the political might of both the NRA and the gun industry relies on consistently overestimating the number of Americans who own guns. To publicly acknowledge that the gun culture in America is fading away, and that they are a clear minority, undercuts their political power.
  • It’s an unbelievably sad commentary that high-profile shootings occur frequently enough that we know the National Rifle Association’s rote four-step crisis management response.
    One. Don’t talk to the press. You don’t want the NRA’s name associated in the public’s mind with mass shootings and the inevitable carnage that results from our nation’s lax gun policies. You want to make sure that the last thing anyone associates with a gun massacre is firearms and those who promote them. To argue to the American public that 32 dead college students and teachers is, as the NRA says, “the price of freedom” is far more difficult when the cost is seen with graphic horror, the faces and stories of the lives lost confronting us. The NRA depends on gun violence being an abstract concept to most Americans. Mass shootings make it all too real.
    Two. If the press coverage is broad enough, issue a statement expressing sympathy for the victims. If not, ignore them.
    Three. When the shooting no longer dominates the news cycle, abandon the bunker and rebuke any and all who have dared to call for gun control. Be sure to indignantly argue that anyone calling for measures to control guns is exploiting tragedy for “political gain.” And be sure to attack the news media for actually covering the story.
    Four. Work to stop measures to address America’s growing gun problem that may be proposed in the wake of the shooting.
    Repeat as necessary.


  • Guns are now the only consumer product manufactured in America not regulated by a federal agency for health and safety...
    When presented with guns’ unique niche in the pantheon of consumer products, the industry and its cheerleaders like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) go into a well-practiced spiel of how in fact they’re actually the most regulated industry in America — citing dealer and manufacturer licensing, the minimal paperwork necessary to buy a gun under federal law, the Brady background check all buyers must go through to purchase a weapon from a licensed dealer, and the fact that ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] is allowed to check a dealer’s sales records once a year (a privilege the agency has the manpower to employ on a far less frequent basis). Yet these are sales standards, not product safety standards. ATF lacks any of the health and safety authority that is routinely granted — and usually expected by the American public — for other consumer products...
    And as the gun industry continues to exploit its unique status with increasingly lethal military style weapons for the civilian market, this disparity can only become more evident.




  • Further, some of these vendors of high-capacity magazines also boast executives who are board members of the NRA. Ronnie Barrett, the CEO of Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, which makes a military-style rifle sold with high-capacity magazines, was elected to the NRA board in 2009. And Pete Brownell, who runs Iowa-based Brownells Inc., which also makes high-capacity magazines, joined the NRA board in 2010.
    The strong financial and corporate ties to the NRA underscore how the gun rights goliath has become increasingly intertwined with some of the nation’s leading accessory vendors that sell high-capacity magazines. All have big stakes in fighting a pending gun control measure in Washington.
  • Who does the National Rifle Association represent? In its direct-mail solicitations and public statements, the NRA presents itself as the uncompromising voice of the American gun owner. But new research reveals that since 2005 the NRA has received millions of dollars from the gun industry. The means by which the industry helps fund the NRA vary: from million-dollar industry grants to a program that rounds up gun store customers’ purchases to the nearest dollar with the difference going to the NRA—including a contribution from a soon-to-be mass shooter buying ammunition. Corporate contributors to the NRA come from every sector of the firearms industry, including: manufacturers of handguns, rifles, shotguns, assault weapons, and high-capacity ammunition magazines; gun distributors and dealers; and, vendors of ammunition and other shooting-related products. And they come from outside the firearms industry—including Xe, the new name for the now-infamous Blackwater Worldwide...
    The depth and breadth of gun industry financial support for the National Rifle Association makes clear that the self-proclaimed “America’s oldest civil rights organization” is, in fact, the gun industry’s most high-profile trade association. While the NRA works to portray itself as protecting the “freedoms” of its membership, it is, in fact protecting the gun industry’s freedom to manufacture virtually any gun or accessory it sees fit to produce....
    The mutually dependent nature of the National Rifle Association and the gun industry explains the NRA’s unwillingness to compromise on even the most limited controls over firearms or related products (such as restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines) and its support of legislation that clearly favors gunmakers over gun owners (such as legislation limiting the legal rights of gun owners killed or injured by defective firearms). The NRA claims that its positions are driven solely by a concern for the interests of gun owners, never mentioning its own financial stake in protecting the profits of its gun industry patrons.
  • Gun rights and gun control, however, have lived together since the birth of the country. Americans have always had the right to keep and bear arms as a matter of state constitutional law. Today, 43 of the 50 state constitutions clearly protect an individual’s right to own guns, apart from militia service.
    Yet we’ve also always had gun control. The Founding Fathers instituted gun laws so intrusive that, were they running for office today, the NRA would not endorse them. While they did not care to completely disarm the citizenry, the founding generation denied gun ownership to many people: not only slaves and free blacks, but law-abiding white men who refused to swear loyalty to the Revolution....
    Today, the NRA is the unquestioned leader in the fight against gun control. Yet the organization didn’t always oppose gun regulation....
    In the 1920s and ’30s, the NRA was at the forefront of legislative efforts to enact gun control. The organization’s president at the time was Karl T. Frederick, a Princeton- and Harvard-educated lawyer known as “the best shot in America”—a title he earned by winning three gold medals in pistol-shooting at the 1920 Summer Olympic Games. As a special consultant to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Frederick helped draft the Uniform Firearms Act, a model of state-level gun-control legislation....
    Frederick’s model law had three basic elements. The first required that no one carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit from the local police. A permit would be granted only to a “suitable” person with a “proper reason for carrying” a firearm. Second, the law required gun dealers to report to law enforcement every sale of a handgun, in essence creating a registry of small arms. Finally, the law imposed a two-day waiting period on handgun sales.
    The NRA today condemns every one of these provisions as a burdensome and ineffective infringement on the right to bear arms.


  • Shot for shot, either a .45-caliber Colt 1911 or a .44 Smith & Wesson revolver will do more damage than a Glock nine-millimeter.
    Still, a Glock, or another large-capacity semiautomatic, can make a very bad situation even worse. During a mass shooting, such as the Luby’s massacre in 1991, a deft gunman can fire more rounds and reload more quickly with a modern pistol equipped with hefty magazines. When Seung-Hui Cho slaughtered thirty-two classmates and professors at Virginia Tech in April 2007, he used two pistols: a nine-millimeter Glock 19 and a smaller .22-caliber Walther. Considerable media attention focused on the fifteen-round compact Glock and the fact that it enabled Cho to unleash a greater volume of rounds in less time. Whether his choice of the Austrian brand raised the horrific body count remains a matter of speculation. It probably did.
    There is no question that Jared Lee Loughner created more carnage in January 2011 because he brought a newly purchased Glock 19 to a political gathering in a shopping mall in suburban Tucson, Arizona. On a sunny Saturday morning, Loughner, a deranged twenty-two-year-old, opened fire at a constituent meet-and-greet hosted in front of a Safeway supermarket by his congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. In just minutes, the gunman sprayed thirty-three rounds, killing six people and wounding thirteen others, including Giffords, who suffered severe brain damage from a point-blank shot that passed through her head. Among the dead were a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl who served on her elementary school student council and wanted to shake hands with the vivacious politician. Loughner used a special oversized magazine, making it possible for him to do much more damage in a matter of minutes than he otherwise might have. He did not stop firing until he had to pause to reload and attendees at the event tackled him.
    Since the expiration in 2004 of the ten-round ammunition cap, Glock has led the charge back into the large-capacity magazine business. Sportsman’s Warehouse, the Tucson store where Loughner bought his Glock, advertises on its website that “compact and subcompact Glock pistol model magazines can be loaded with a convincing number of rounds—i.e.… up to 33 rounds.”
    The scale of the bloodshed in Tucson, like that at Virginia Tech and Luby’s, presents the strongest possible evidence that a restriction on magazine size makes sense. Such a limit would not stop a Loughner or Cho from attacking, but it could reduce the number of victims. Only six states—California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York—have their own limits on large magazines. A national ten-round cap seems like a logical compromise that lawful gun owners could easily tolerate. The NRA has concluded otherwise—and pushed the issue off the legislative table.
  • They translate the industry's needs into less crass, less economically interested language -- into defending the home, into defending the country. The industry needs a veneer of respectability.
  • Colt Manufacturing, which had the military contract for the M-16, recognized that there could also be a civilian market for this rifle. So they developed what they called the AR-15, which was actually the original developmental designation of the rifle. The only difference between these rifles that are sold on the civilian market and the rifles that are issued to our soldiers and soldiers all over the world is that the purely military rifle is capable of firing what's called fully automatic fire. That means if you pull the trigger and hold it down, the gun will continue to fire until it expends all the ammunition in what is known as the magazine, the thing that holds the bullets. Machine guns have been outlawed in the United States, effectively, for civilian use since the mid-1980s. So what these guns need to be configured to be are semiautomatic. That means you must pull the trigger for each round fired. There's a question about rate of fire which the industry and the NRA and other advocates of having these guns in civilian hands make, and it goes like this: Well, the military guns are fully automatic, therefore they're technically machine guns, but the civilians guns are not. They're semiautomatic, and therefore they're not assault rifles. That's a distinction without a difference, as many writers on the gun side noted in the early 1980s, when even the industry called them assault rifles, until they became involved in unfortunate incidents...The reason I say it's a distinction without a difference is that the trigger can be pulled at a very rapid rate in semiautomatic fire, and it's actually more automatic fire the gun has a tendency to rise upward, to travel. If you go to shooting ranges where automatic weapons are used, you'll often see, in the ceiling, bullet holes because you pull the trigger and the characteristic sounds of - bbrruppp - the gun will rise. Semiautomatic fire doesn't do that, which is why the military encourages soldiers to shoot semiautomatic rather than automatic whenever possible.


  • Like the KKK, the NRA was also formed right after the Civil War. The organization’s first major involvement with promoting gun laws tainted by prejudice was in the 1920s and 30s. In response to urban gun violence often associated with immigrants, especially those from Italy, the NRA’s president, Karl Frederick, helped draft model legislation to restrict concealed carry of firearms in public. States, Frederick’s model law recommended, should only allow concealed carry by people with a license, and those licenses should be restricted to “suitable” people with “proper reason for carrying” a gun in public. Thanks to the NRA’s endorsement, these laws were adopted in the majority of states.
    The 1960s saw another wave of gun control laws that were, at least in part, motivated by race. After Malcolm X promised to fight for civil rights “by any means necessary” while posing for Ebony magazine with an M1 Carbine rifle in his hand and the Black Panthers took to streets of Oakland with loaded guns, conservatives like Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, began promoting gun control. Black radicals with guns, coupled with the devastating race riots that wiped out whole neighborhoods in Newark and Detroit in 1967, helped persuade Congress to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968. That law barred felons from purchasing firearms, expanded the licensing of gun dealers, and barred imports of “Saturday Night Specials”—cheap, often poorly made guns that were frequently used for crime by urban youth. As one gun control supporter at the time frankly admitted, a close look at that law revealed that it wasn’t really about controlling guns; it was about controlling blacks. And the NRA, in its signature publication, American Rifleman, took credit for the law and extolled its virtues.
  • The NRA, a trade association for the gun industry masquerading as a shooting sports foundation, has worked for decades to block any policy that could negatively affect the industry’s bottom line. They’ve taken tens of millions of dollars in donations from gun companies that care more about increased profits than protecting public safety.
  • It certainly has been a fantastic time at Smith & Wesson...We are true believers in that and defenders of that and we are very closely aligned with the NRA. The time had come to step up and do the right thing.
  • We looked back at the support we had given the NRA over time and decided, really quite honestly, that it wasn’t enough. It is imperative that we hold fast to the freedoms that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights provide our citizens. Those freedoms cannot and must not be negotiated. So, I think it’s more important than ever that we come together in support of the NRA.


  • The National Rifle Association’s days of being a political powerhouse may be numbered.
    Why? The answer is in the numbers.
    Support for, and opposition to, gun control is closely associated with several demographic characteristics, including race, level of education and whether one lives in a city. Nearly all are trending forcefully against the NRA.
    The core of the NRA’s support comes from white, rural and relatively less educated voters. This demographic is currently influential in politics but clearly on the wane.
    ...the heart of the organization’s power is the voters it can turn out to vote, and they are likely to decline in number.


  • ...the truth is that guns are rarely used to stop crimes or kill criminals...private citizens use guns to harm themselves or others far more often than to kill in self-defense...The fact is that the use of guns in self-defense in America bears little resemblance to the false claims made by the NRA and its gun industry partners. Perhaps most striking is that in a nation of more than 300 million guns, how rarely firearms are used in self-defense.
  • America has grown accustomed to military-style semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15. It's not hard to see why: These firearms have been heavily marketed to gun owners. But at the same time, they're often the weapons of choice for mass murderers. In an all-too familiar pattern, Omar Mateen, the gunman in the Orlando nightclub massacre, used one of these weapons, Sig Sauer's MCX (a version of the AR-15 rifle), in his deadly attack on Sunday. The AR-15 has grown so popular that the pro-gun lobby National Rifle Association has termed it "America's rifle." The AR-15 and its variants have been used in a number of mass shootings, ranging from the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school tragedy to the San Bernardino, California, attack in December.
  • The NRA grades every candidate for state or federal elective office on their commitment to gun rights, and supports those with the better grades, regardless of party affiliation. It then tracks their conduct in office to ensure that they remain true to NRA commitments, and punishes those who don’t by campaigning aggressively against them. It concentrates on state legislatures, where most gun laws are passed. With active affiliates in every state and an average membership of 100,000 per state, the NRA has substantial advantages at the local level over gun control organizations, which are much smaller and tend to focus on Washington, where little gets done.
  • Racism is often used casually: a “racist” is simply someone who is prejudiced in one situation or the other.
    But the technical definition of racism is that people of separate races are different, and ranked in a hierarchy. Some races are higher, better, matter more. Some are lower, inferior, matter less.
    From their reaction — or lack of — to these cases, the only logical conclusion one can reach is that the NRA is racist.


  • The N.R.A., with its yearly budget of three hundred million dollars, has mastered the dark art of substituting money for popular will. By spending strategically and threatening to “primary” any office-holder who deviates from its agenda, it has managed to impose an extremist agenda that seems almost unchallengeable. America now has something like eighty-eight guns per hundred citizens—the highest concentration in the world—yet, inevitably, there will be calls for more tomorrow.
  • The NRA has fought efforts to regulate gun and ammunition manufacturing, or to grant any federal agency the authority to mandate a safety recall for firearms. In some instances, gunmakers have known for years about defects in their products that have caused injuries and death, but have delayed issuing a recall. Nearly every other industry in the United States is subject to regulatory oversight for product safety, and the firearm industry should be no different. But when legislators express support for emerging technology that could make guns safer, the NRA labels them "anti-gun."
  • ...recent actions by the NRA demonstrate not only a complete disregard for the lives of black and brown people in America – your fellow citizens – but appear to be a direct endorsement of violence against these citizens exercising their constitutional right to protest.
    The advertisement released by the NRA is a direct attack on people of color, progressives and anyone who exercises their First Amendment right to protest. At a time when our nation is seeing a rise in racially charged incidents and violence motivated by hate speech, it is unconscionable for a powerful organization like yours to unashamedly peddle an "us versus them" narrative. You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence.
    Your organization claims to stand for the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, but instead of affirming Mr. Castile's constitutional right to carry his gun, you released this vicious and incendiary video calling for armed conflict.
  • Anyone who follows the NRA knows it is an organization that consistently uses blatantly racist language and race-baiting to create a culture of fear and in turn, sell more guns. NRA leaders have called men of color “thugs,” perpetuated racist terminology like “black-on-black crime,” referred to communities of color as “violent inner cities,” mirrored the language of a racist president, and disparaged President Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, non-native speakers, and others who don’t look like them, talk like them, or pray like them.
  • We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote. This bill won’t stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets. The first Assault Weapons Ban was just starting to show an effect when the NRA stymied its reauthorization in 2004. Yes, it will be a long process to reduce the massive supply of these assault weapons in our country, but we’ve got to start somewhere. To those who say now isn’t the time, they’re right—we should have extended the original ban 13 years ago, before hundreds more Americans were murdered with these weapons of war. To my colleagues in Congress, I say do your job.


  • The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.
    Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS.
    Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS.
    They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.
    They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS.
    They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS.
    They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.
    That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.
    If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.
  • The distinctive “look” of assault weapons is not cosmetic. It is the visual result of specific functional design decisions. Military assault weapons were designed and developed for a specific military purpose — laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone, also known as “hosing down” an area. The most significant assault weapon functional design features are:
    (1) ability to accept a high-capacity ammunition magazine,
    (2) a rear pistol or thumb-hole grip, and,
    (3) a forward grip or barrel shroud.
    Taken together, these are the design features that make possible the deadly and indiscriminate “spray-firing” for which assault weapons are designed. None of them are features of true hunting or sporting guns. Civilian semiautomatic assault weapons incorporate all of the functional design features that make assault weapons so deadly. They are arguably more deadly than military versions, because most experts agree that semiautomatic fire is more accurate than automatic fire. Although the gun lobby today argues that there is no such thing as civilian assault weapons, the industry, the National Rifle Association, and gun magazines enthusiastically described these civilian versions as “assault rifles,” “assault pistols,” and “military assault” weapons to boost civilian sales throughout the 1980s. The industry and its allies only began to use the semantic argument that a “true” assault weapon is a machine gun after civilian assault weapons turned up in large numbers in the hands of drug traffickers, criminal gangs, mass murderers, and other dangerous criminals.
  • Sanders: I have a D minus voting record, from the NRA. I lost an election probably, for congress here in Vermont back in 1988, because I believe we should not be selling or distributing assault weapons in this country. I am on record and have been for a very long time in saying we have got to significantly tighten up the background checks. We have to end the absurdity of the gun show loophole. 40 percent of the guns in this country are sold without any background checks. We have to deal with the straw man provision which allows people to legally buy guns and then distribute. We’ve got to take on the NRA. And that is my view. And I am, will do everything I can to—the tragedy that we saw in Parkland is unspeakable. And all over this country, parents are scared to death of what might happen when they send their kids to school. This problem is not going to be easily solved. Nobody has a magic solution, alright, but we’ve got to do everything we can do protect the children—
    Todd: What does that mean? You say everything we can. Does that mean raising the age when you can purchase an AR-15? Does that mean limiting the purchase of AR-15s?
    Sanders: Yes! Yeah, look. Chuck, what I just told you is that for 30 years, I believe that we should not be selling assault weapons in this country. These weapons are not for hunting, they are for killing human beings. These are military weapons. I do not know why we have five million of them running around the United States of America, so of course we have to do that. Of course we have to make it harder for people to purchase weapons. We have people now who are on terrorist watch lists who can purchase a weapon. Does this make any sense to anybody. Bottom line here, Republicans are going to have to say that it’s more important to protect the children of this country than to antagonize the NRA. Are they prepared to do that, I surely hope they are.
  • The main functional difference between the military’s M16 and M4 rifles and a civilian AR-15 is the “burst” mode on many military models, which allow three rounds to be fired with one trigger pull. Some military versions of the rifles have a full automatic feature, which fires until the trigger is released or a magazine is empty of ammunition.
    But in actual American combat these technical differences are less significant than they seem. For decades the American military has trained its conventional troops to fire their M4s and M16s in the semiautomatic mode — one bullet per trigger pull — instead of on “burst” or automatic in almost all shooting situations. The weapons are more accurate this way, and thus more lethal.
    The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups highlight the fully automatic feature in military M4s and M16s. But the American military, after a long experience with fully automatic M16s reaching back to Vietnam, decided by the 1980s to issue M16s, and later M4s, to most conventional troops without the fully automatic function, and to train them to fire in a more controlled fashion.
    What all of this means is that the Parkland gunman, in practical terms, had the same rifle firepower as an American grunt using a standard infantry rifle in the standard way...
    A New York Times analysis of a video from a Florida classroom estimates that during his crime the gunman fired his AR-15 as quickly as one-and-a-half rounds per second. The military trains soldiers to fire at a sustained rate of 12 to 15 rounds per minute, or a round every four or five seconds.
  • Today's National Rifle Association is essentially a de facto trade association masquerading as a shooting sports foundation. So the NRA does the bulk of lobbying for the industry. You know, you hear the NRA talking about their opposition to an assault weapons ban, their opposition to raising the age for the purchase of a long gun from 18 to 21 years of age. And they try to frame it in terms of freedom and history and, you know, sort of the sacred nature of firearms.
    Well, the reality is that's bad for the industry to pass those laws. If you ban assault weapons, that wipes out what they rely on as a recent profit center. If you raise the age for purchase of a long gun, which includes assault rifles, then you add three more years to the timeframe before a young person can buy a gun. So it's very important to understand the political battle in terms of the interests of the industry and in terms of marketing.
  • In the month-and-a-half since the Parkland shooting, lawmakers have passed more gun control legislation than in the last decade. Florida adopted stricter gun control measures earlier this month, despite the NRA’s strong grip on the state legislature. The new law raises the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21, creates a background check waiting period for gun purchases, bans bump stocks, and allows school districts to arm school personnel.
    While the federal spending bill passed by Congress early Friday morning didn’t go as far, new provisions do free up the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence and provide funds to strengthen the federal background check system.
  • For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.”
    During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”
    In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.
    That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.


  • The National Rifle Association is trying to export its guns-for-everyone-everywhere agenda overseas — and its global activities have little to do with its mission to protect the constitutional rights of gun owners....
    For those manufacturers, cultivating relationships with the American gun lobby is paramount for business. Who, after all, will defend foreign gun manufacturers after their firearms are used in mass shootings here in the United States and ensure that the market for American customers remains unrestricted? The alleged killer at the Pittsburgh synagogue in October relied on three Austrian Glock .357 handguns (along with a Colt AR-15 rifle). The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School used a Glock 10mm handgun and a German SIG Sauer P226 9mm handgun as well as an American-made assault weapon to kill 26 people.
    So it’s no surprise that in 2008, Beretta, an Italian gun manufacturer, pledged to donate $1 million to the NRA. Belgian FN Herstal gave as much as $200,000 to the lobby in 2013. Glock donated at least $115,000 during 2011, and both Glock and Beretta are part of the lobby’s Golden Ring of Freedom, an elite circle for donors that gift $1 million or more. SIG Sauer is also part of that club.
  • The NRA is the most important organization protecting our rights to defend ourselves and our democracy in America.
    • Sebastian Gorka, America First with Sebastian Gorka, The 2020 Gun Confiscation Primary: Grant Stinchfield with Sebastian Gorka on AMERICA First

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