The NRA represents gun manufacturers, not gun owners
The Senate could not pass the most minimal of gun control measures the other night. The final vote count was 54 to 46 to enhance background checks and close the gun show loophole. 90 % of Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, five voted against the measure. 90 % of Senate Republicans voted against the bill, only four voted in favor.
In normal Senate procedure, 54 votes would have been more than enough to pass the bill through the Senate. However, the permanent Republican filibuster campaign has prevented the bill from passing, 60 votes are required to break a filibuster. Behind this Republican filibuster of gun control is the powerful lobbying force of the National Rifle Association.
The NRA has been around since 1871 and has had some form of lobbying throughout it’s past. However, the NRA has transformed itself (much like the Chamber of Commerce) into a radically right-wing organization that no longer speaks for the members it claims to represent.
In terms of gun control, the bill the NRA and Republicans in the Senate fought to block was fairly weak sauce. The measure contained federal background checks, better communication between states for gun trafficking, some new rules of prosecution of gun crimes and a regulation of gun shows.
All of these measures sound great, but by no means was this bill a sweeping regulation of guns like the NRA claimed it was. There were no federal registries or GPS chips to track all gun owners. The assault weapons ban and ammo clip limit could only have been added as an amendment to the greater bill.
The bill by no means does what many gun control advocates want, in fact NRA figure-head Wayne LaPierre himself stated that having a federal background check for gun buyers was “reasonable” back in 1999. So what has changed so much since the 1990’s that the NRA now believes that even something as simple as a background check is an unconstitutional intrusion on 2nd amendment rights?
The NRA has transformed into an organization that no longer represents the roughly 4 million gun owners in its ranks. The fact is the NRA is an organization that represents gun and ammo manufacturers, slightly different from representing gun owners.
The NRA has become an organization that exclusively represents the interests of the gun industry in America which has financial incentives to prevent any regulation on guns. The producers of guns and ammo profit from an unregulated market, so to them it makes no difference whether a hunter in Michigan, a random psycho, or branches of Al Qaeda or the IRA want guns, they make a buck either way you spin it.
Since the majority of the major board members of the NRA are representatives of gun manufacturers, the weapon companies fund the NRA, and the NRA in turn funds the campaigns of Republican (and Democratic) candidates in Congress. This translates into a solid political block who are dedicated to allowing anyone to gain access to guns.
The NRA believes in background checks for immigrants coming to this country, background checks for people to get jobs, rent apartments and to adopt children and pets. Yet they don’t believe you need a background check to buy a gun.
Because gun manufacturers have taken over the interests of the NRA, it is no surprise to see the NRA so deeply committed to preventing any federal regulation of the gun market. The shift in representation is so bad that many NRA members are now quitting the organization. One recent high profile example is that of the heir to the Anheuser-Busch brewing fortune, Adolphus Busch IV, who quit the NRA over the exact same reasons I listed.
“The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established…Your current strategic focus places a priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.” -Adolphus Busch IV, former NRA board member