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The Power Of The NRA In America’s Gun Debate

How the NRA conquered America’s gun debate, and how it’s fighting tooth and nail right now not to lose it.

National Rifle Association President David Keene listens at right as NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre, left, sits at the witness table on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. (AP)

National Rifle Association President David Keene listens at right as NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre, left, sits at the witness table on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. (AP)

For all the American agony over gun violence and the massacre of little children at Newtown, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by America’s gun reality.  So many guns, so fiercely protected by law, by lobbyists, by gun makers.  An ocean of guns and gun rights trumping lots of other rights.

It wasn’t always that way.  And it didn’t happen by accident.  My guest today says look to the NRA.

It’s big-money alliance with gun makers.  Its ever-escalating demands for gun freedom, gun presence.

This hour, On Point:  How the NRA conquered America’s gun debate, and how it’s fighting right now not to lose it

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Tim Dickinson, national affairs correspondent and contributing editor at Rolling Stone. His big piece is “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.” (@7im)

From Tom’s Reading List

Rolling Stone “Billing itself as the nation’s ‘oldest civil rights organization,’ the NRA still claims to represent the interests of marksmen, hunters and responsible gun owners. But over the past decade and a half, the NRA has morphed into a front group for the firearms industry, whose profits are increasingly dependent on the sale of military-bred weapons like the assault rifles used in the massacres at Newtown and Aurora, Colorado.”

USA Today “The National Rifle Association says proposals such as universal background checks for gun buyers won’t work and the nation must enforce the laws it has. But lobbying records and interviews show the organization has worked steadily to weaken existing gun laws and the federal agency charged with enforcing them.”

The Washington Post “A number of readers have wondered about the NRA’s claim that it has more than 4.5 million members. As can be seen above, just in the space of six months, the NRA’s estimate of the size of its membership jumped by 500,000, an increase of more than 12 percent.”

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