SIX BILLION…that’s the number of dollars that the three hundred gun and ammunition manufacturers in this country make yearly. $6,000,000,000!!
Americans are under the impression that the National Rifle Association, an organization with just 4.3 million members, effectively blocks gun control legislation around the entire country. But how can such a relatively small organization have so much clout? After all, the American Association of Retired Persons has nearly nine times that membership—about 36,000,000—and it gets the pants beaten off of it when they try to negotiate a deal on prescription drugs. Why is the National Rifle Association so powerful?
The group’s dirty little secret is that, in spite of what it says in its promotional material, it DOES NOT represent the voice of the American gun owner. It’s not even particularly interested in Second Amendment rights. The NRA is all about its corporate ‘partners’—a portion of those three hundred gun and ammunition manufacturers who make $6 billion a year—and how to best protect the companies’ profits. To emphasize this goal, Pete Brownell, a board member of the NRA, is also the head of Brownells, the “world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories.”
Since 2005, corporations have contributed between $20 million and $52 million to the NRA; according to a study by the Violence Policy Center, 74% of those contributions are from the gun industry. Back in 1967, the NRA publicized itself as “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.” Today, one part of the NRA website—the part about the kids’ program ‘Eddie Eagle’—still makes that statement. At the same time, they promote their “Ring of Freedom Corporate Partners Program” where different levels of contributions result in different perks to the companies involved.
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