Making sense of the gun lobby

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

“Opioids don’t cause addiction; people do.”

“Guns don’t cause mass shootings; people do.”

Why is it in both cases the people who profit enormously from these “products” are the people who manufacture them? Who are their lobbyists?

Does one have to be crazy (“mentally disturbed”) to ingest opioids or to pull the trigger on a gun designed for the express purpose of killing lots of people with one pull of the trigger?

If, as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre so righteously insists, mentally disturbed people should not have access to guns of any kind, I would like one sane NRA member — and there are many to explain to me what purpose an AR-15 has for sane members outside of a secure shooting range?

In the United States nonprofit status is given to organizations that provide social benefits that for-profit (commercial) organizations cannot (afford to) provide. The NRA, like a large number of nonprofits (e.g., the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, etc.) is actually two organizations that are legally separate, though only on paper.

The NRA that can grant you a tax deduction for your donation to run gun safety programs for example. But the NRA Institute for Legislative Action is its lobbying arm, which manages its political action committee, the Political Victory Fund, which is where the action is. Total lobbying expenditures in 2017 were $5,122,000. Why the NRA needs nonprofit status with all the “support” it receives from the for-profit gun industry that supports an annual salary of over $950,000 for LaPierre is yet one more question.

A confusing point is that although the lobbying arm of the NRA can’t endorse or oppose candidates, it’s perfectly legal for them to pay for “issue ads” followed by a voice over saying something like “in view of these facts, why does Congressman Jones support the bill? Write and ask him why?”

Yet that doesn’t count as electioneering? Give me a break.

John Bos

Shelburne Falls