The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre infamously said after the Sandy Hook massacre,
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
That statement, of course, was designed to help LaPierre’s boss, the gun industry, sell more guns to the good guys because selling more guns is the only reason—yes, the only reason—the NRA exists today.
But it’s not just about selling guns to good guys.
Tim Dickinson, who recently wrote an excellent piece for Rolling Stone (“The NRA vs. America: How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers“), was on MSNBC yesterday and nicely put the NRA and its mission in perspective, a perspective that those of us on the side of common-sense gun laws should, even in the face of Congressional obstruction, never tire of promoting:
The NRA sells the fear that sells the guns. Plain and simple. They are a marketing association that sells fear so that people go out and arm themselves. And who profits from that? Well, it’s the gunmakers.
Who profits from illegal gun sales to people who shouldn’t have guns? It’s the gunmakers.
Who profits from guns that get bought up by fly-by-night dealers on the border and shipped in massive quantities down to Mexico to arm the drug insurgency there? Well, it’s the gunmakers.
Whose interest does the NRA represent? It’s the gunmakers.
It’s just not that complicated.
No, and neither is the following, from Dickinson’s Rolling Stone article:
The NRA’s alignment with an $11.7 billion industry has fed tens of millions of dollars into the association’s coffers, helping it string together victories that would have seemed fantastic just 15 years ago. The NRA has hogtied federal regulators, censored government data about gun crime and blocked renewal of the ban on assault weaponry and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004. The NRA secured its “number-one legislative priority” in 2005, a law blocking liability lawsuits that once threatened to bankrupt gunmakers and expose the industry’s darkest business practices. Across the country, the NRA has opened new markets for firearms dealers by pushing for state laws granting citizens the right to carry hidden weapons in public and to allow those who kill in the name of self-defense to get off scot-free.