The NRA’s Strong Ties to Gun Manufacturers

gun-flag-money

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is owned and run by gun manufacturers who have a vested interest in keeping guns of all kind unregulated and in the hands of as many people, preferably Americans, as possible.

While the NRA leadership is known as much for its organizational secrecy as its absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment itself  – literally and in spirit – and the mantras the NRA throws around about “your rights” and “your freedom as Americans to defend yourself” have nothing to do with why they have been so adamantly and passionately opposing gun control despite even the massacre of children.

Much like anything else, the good old devil money is behind it all. Gun controls mean less gun sales; and less gun sales ultimately mean less profits and the-pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow-dripping-with-peoples’-bloodforbid someone doesn’t make tons of money in this country so they don’t have to be those middle class losers who missed the whole point of the grand American dream.

Sartre’s assertion that hell is other people never rang truer.  Forget about some literal two horned devil coming after you; that two horned monster is coming at you right now and has been for the past 30 years in the form of the NRA and the blood they have on their hands by continuing to make record profits placing all kinds of tools of mass murder into peoples’ hands under the guise of freedom. Short of actually pulling the trigger, the NRA stands behind every gun death in the United States.

NRA’s Strong Influence on Politics

The NRA is widely considered to be disproportionately influential in politics, operating more like a corporation or politburo than a typical nonprofit or lobbying organization. Its 76 board directors and 10 executive officers keep a grip on power through elections in which ordinary grassroots members appear to have little say.

With  ties to the $11.7 billion gun industry and board members who are CEOs of said gun industry, the NRA’s agenda is controlled by gun manufacturers who make sure that any new laws at any level of government relating to gun control are rejected and that there are massive barriers for police and government agencies to enforce new and even existing laws.

Blood MoneyIn 1999, Right wing actor and NRA president Charleton Heston told the gun industry “your fight is our fight“.

Indeed. In 2005 then Senator Larry Craig, who is no longer a senator because he couldn’t control himself in men’s rooms, helped pass an NRA bill protecting gun companies from liability if their products were used in a crime.  

According to the Huffington Post,  since then the NRA has received over 38 million dollars from gun makers, including Beretta USA, Glock and Sturm and Ruger, according to a 2011 study by the Violence Policy Center, a group that favors gun control. 

Today Larry Craig is a member of the board of the NRA. 

The Violence Policy Center study cited an NRA promotional brochure about the corporate partnership drive, noting that LaPierre (NRA’s current President) promised that “this program is geared towards your company’s corporate interests.”

Despite the millions of dollars it has collected from the gun industry, the NRA’s website still says “it is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.”

Today We are Going to Unmask Some of the Gun Industry Leaders Inside the NRA

ronnie barrett 2

Ronnie Barrett

For your consideration we got Ronnie Barrett of Murfreesboro,  Tennessee ‘s Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, which makes a 50 caliber military style sniper rifle that has a range of one mile and can pierce armor. He gets richer from legal sales of his legal killing machines in every state except California because even (former) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did not believe that Barrett’s products belonged in the hands of everyday civilians.

Next we have Pete Brownell who also sits on the NRA board. He heads Montezuma, Iowa based Brownell’s Inc,  which makes high capacity magazines. In fact, the Brownell family has a long, proud tradition of trafficking in the instruments of gun death for generations: Pete Brownell is the rich grandson of Bob Brownelle who was the founder of the company that is now one of the largest suppliers of fire arm parts and accessories. The Brownell Company has also been awarded the Ring of Freedom in the NRA Corporate Donor Program  – a designation reserved for the largest corporate donors to the NRA.

Even though since 2005, people associated with Brownell’s company have donated as much as five million dollars to he NRA, murder profiteer Pete Brownell himself has actually claimed that he has no financial interest in the positions of the NRA.

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Pete Brownell

Also on the Board is the CEO of Freedom Group (I know right?) George Kollitides who runs the company that owns Remington and Bushmaster and that made the AR 15 rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting,  costing the lives of 20 first graders and six educators who came to their aide. The Freedom Group has donated between $25,000 and $49,000 to the NRA’s corporate effort.

The NRA’s most generous gun industry backer is Columbia, Missouri based MidwayUSA founded by Larry Potterfield and his wife Brenda who served as a VP of the NRA’s board of trustees.

Midway distributes high capacity magazine clips like the one used in Newton’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  These clips increase the lethality of weapons by allowing dozens of shots to be fired before the shooter has to reload.

MidwayUSA’s gratitude to the NRA for doing everything they possibly can to keep Midway’s completely unnecessary products legal has been expressed in $7.7 million in donations to the NRA. Customers who buy Midway products are asked to “round up” the price to the next dollar, with the company donating the difference to the NRA.

Isn’t that generous?

Although the gun industry has its own lobbying arm, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, based – ironically enough –  in Newtown, Connecticut, its influence pales in comparison with the NRA, which grades lawmakers on their fealty to the Second Amendment, and runs attack ads against candidates it perceives as on the wrong side of the fight. In the wake of its last major defeat — the 1994 assault weapons ban — the NRA mounted a successful campaign to push many of the ban’s supporters, especially Democrats from rural areas, out of office.

potterfieldx300

These are the people who pay NRA President La Pierre’s salary (which was $960,000 from the NRA and related organizations in 2010; Kayne B. Robinson, the executive director of general operations, earned more than $1 million) and deliver the funds to get the job done – which is to fabricate a whole culture consisting of fear, intimidation, scapegoating and scare tactics of some government take over evoking freedom and the Second Amendment in order to basically expand their market base and with it profits.

As the debate about gun control moves forward, some analysts say the NRA’s hard-line rhetoric benefits the gun industry in another way: it boosts sales.

The NRA is generating fear,” according to William Vizzard, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  “The industry has learned that the more controversy there is about guns, the more guns sell — whether it’s a legitimate controversy over a bill, or a trumped-up one like, ‘Obama’s been re-elected, they’re going to take away our guns.'”

The scare tactics work, however, as they have managed to scare people into buying more of their instruments of murder, actually having convinced everyone in, what I consider a masterful manipulation and gaslighting strategy, that in fact more guns lying around is desirable and exactly what the Founders of this nation and its Constitution had in mind when they inserted the Second Amendment into the Constitution. They have convinced everyone that not only is the government after them but that in fact, leading a life like that is what a good life is all about  – namely being armed to the teeth, walking around with assault rifles hanging from our shoulders to be ready to stand up to and shoot anyone from the government who wants to “take over”.

It’s the fact that for so many people, for the masses that make up the bulk of the NRA, the above is a reality. They really do believe that the government, especially now so that it is lead by a black man, is gearing up to come and get them and take away their rights. What rights they are afraid will be taken away, no one knows. Not even they.

These are the same people who kept screaming I Want My America Back, with which they meant the America of the Leave it to Beaver/Father Knows Best  kind with its white and male privileged society,  one where a black man knew his place in society, namely at the back of a bus or at the least not in leadership positions and where women desired nothing more in life than to be good, agreeable and obedient housewives and mommies who make breakfast, lunch, dinner and pies in crepe and chiffon dresses with perfectly coiffed hair and with always a smile on their faces, being the voice of reason but only if hubby approves.

The efforts of the NRA have really little to do with the fact that they and gun manufacturers actually give a  shit about either the Second Amendment or anyone’s constitutional rights and more to do with them caring about the bottom line.

kollitides-nra-campaign400

Self Defense and Freedom Have Nothing to Do With Any of it

The idea of the US government turning on its own citizens is nothing but the NRA stoking the fears of its ignorant, easily fooled and molded herd of bigots and minions who have convinced themselves – with the aide and under the guidance of the NRA of course – that not only is the government going to come after them, especially when it’s lead by a black man,  but that it, in fact, was every citizens’ civic duty to accumulate a little arsenal (or even a big one- or especially a big one) to defend against said government.

Targeting the Mentally Ill

In all this, it is utterly sad and extremely unhelpful for the government, lead by President Obama, to start tackling gun control by proposing background checks and databases of people with mental health issues, which, if I may add, only marginalizes a group that is already marginalized, discouraging them from seeking help out of fear that they end up on some national database branded as mentally ill for everyone to see and judge. Because remember, not all mentally ill people are violent – in fact a few percentage of them are – and not all violent people are mentally ill. Background checks also won’t help us when there are still metric tons of guns lying around in society just….being there. It’s like trying to evade a nuclear war by stocking up on nuclear missiles.

How devoid of common sense do you have to be, even if your motive is really not money, to not see that and instead go after the things you know are not the problem?

This government has a knack for repeatedly going after the wrong entities when attempting to fix a problem. We saw that and continue to see it with the financial industry that, among other things such as a few fraudulent wars and such things as oil subsidies and support of terrorist nations such as Israel, caused the recession and subsequent meltdown. Instead of going after the root cause of the problem – Democrats and Republican alike – have been going after what everyone dismissively calls entitlements: Medicare recipients, the poor, the elderly and college students have all become the fall guys being asked to pay for the mess the corrupt banking and financial industry deemed too big too fail and thus ultimately immune to persecution, caused.

Too big to be jailed

Too Big To Be Jailed

The same is happening with gun control: instead of going after the root cause of this, which is the NRA’s stronghold of the government as a result of gun manufacturers lining their bloody pockets, they are going after the most vulnerable segments of the population: the mentally ill and “those criminals“, as if the criminals weren’t using the guns gun manufacturers built and distributed to carry out their killings and mass murdering.

Nothing will change, however, until we address the real issue, which is the motif of profit and greed and the gun lobbyists whose job it is to protect the “rights” of corporate interests in their unending pursuit of putting all kinds of tools and accessories of murder in the hands of Americans.

Unfortunately our government, whose role should be protecting the interests – not to mention life an safety – of the common man, has become the handmaiden to big business, and all this supposed “debate” about violence, Second Amendment and Constitutional rights is just window dressing.

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  1. #1 by greybuscat on January 20, 2013 - 2:29 AM

    Do you think you can post more of your sources for this? You have a few links embedded, and I’m sure I can track down much of the rest on my own, but for the sake of using this information to reach other people, it’s always nice when some of the leg work is already taken care of.

    If I’m not overextending by offering criticism, you may want to watch some of the florid language and snark. The people that need to understand this issue for what it is are going to be turned off by insults to their intelligence and dearly held views.

    Anyway, very good blog, and it’s a shame I’m the only one to comment on it so far.

    • #2 by popreflection on January 20, 2013 - 9:11 AM

      Thank you. All my sources are cited, such as the Huffington Post etc. A lot of it can be track backed that way.

      I choose my words very wisely, precisely and purposely. Pete Brownell, for example, is a war profiteer. Wanting to own tools of murder is not a dearly held view either, it is a murderous view – just like racism would be – and I do not need to respect that or worry about the feelings of those who hold such views. I worry about the lives of children massacred, not the feelings of those who put guns in the hands of those who massacred them.

    • #3 by popreflection on January 20, 2013 - 4:46 PM

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