Like 19 children and two teahers have been murdered In the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, President Joe Biden said with apparent desperation: “As a nation, we must ask ourselves when, in the name of God , we’re going to stand up to the gun lobby, when in the name of God, we do what we all know in our guts needs to be done.
The largest and most powerful firearms lobby in the United States is the National Rifle Association (NRA), which for years has been a determined and fierce opponent of all efforts to reduce or restrict the access to lethal firearms. Just over a decade ago, the NRA sued Texas – the same state the 18-year-old shooter went on a rampage in on Tuesday, May 24 – in a bid to force him to lower the legal age to own a car. handgun from 21 to 18 years old.
Since 1991, the NRA has been led by Wayne LaPierre, 72, the group’s CEO and executive vice president.
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The NRA was founded in 1871 by William Conant Church and Captain George Wood Wingate, two Civil War veterans, with the intention “to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis”. Union Army General Ambrose Burnside was elected the NRA’s first president.
During the first decades of its existence, the NRA promoted shooting clubs across the United States and encouraged marksmanship as a sport. It was not until the 1930s that she entered the arena of political lobbying. The NRA supported the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, the first federal gun control law in the United States, and later the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, which established a system of licensing arms dealers and restricting certain categories of arms. guns, but opposed the proposal to create a national gun registry.
The NRA remained largely nonpartisan until the 1970s. Its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, was founded in 1975, and in 1977 the NRA established its own Political Action Committee (PAC) to fund legislators. Today, it is one of the most influential special interest groups, with a very large budget to influence members and women of Congress on gun policy in the United States.
The NRA has strong ties to the Republican Party, and Republican politicians have long sought support for the group and its members. The NRA directly gave well over $600,000 to politicians in the 2020 election, almost all of it to Republicans, according to the nonprofit watchdog group OpenSecrets.
The 2015 Leadership Forum of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political advocacy arm of the NRA, was addressed by a galaxy of candidates for the GOP presidential ticket, including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.
Trump, Cruz and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott are among the Republicans scheduled to address the Institute of Legislative Action Forum 2022 in Houston, Texas over the weekend.
size and strength
The NRA spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year, which has long been far more than all gun control advocacy combined. This situation is believed to have changed in recent years.
Estimates of NRA members vary, and the group is often accused of inflating its numbers. NRA membership may be around 3 million now. Former President George HW Bush, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and actors Tom Selleck, Whoopi Goldberg, and Charlton Heston have been NRA members at various times.
The NRA actively donates money for the construction and maintenance of shooting ranges. Its lobbying budget, including official and unofficial expenses, amounts to tens of millions of dollars each year. Members of the group are highly politically engaged and seen as a strong single-issue vote bank that Republican politicians seek to exploit.
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