Violence Policy Center Follows the Money Names the Names

Violence Policy Center (VPC) 2013 report, “Blood Money: How Gun Industry Dollars Fund the NRA,” reveals exactly who bankrolls the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Faced with an ongoing decline in household gun ownership, the NRA has thrown its weight behind its gun industry benefactors. At their May 2013 annual meeting in Houston, Texas, the highest donors were honored by rising to the Golden Ring of Freedom giving-level. The current group, comprised of 10 companies and individuals, had contributed more than a million dollars and were given the ability to ring the ‘Freedom’ bell.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre promises that the NRA’s newly expanded Corporate Partners Program is an opportunity for corporations to partner with the NRA. The vast majority of funds – 74% – contributed to the NRA from corporate partner and are members of the firearms industry – companies involved in the manufacture or sale of firearms or shooting-related products.

While the NRA works to portray itself as protecting the “freedoms” of its membership, it is, in fact protecting the gun industry’s freedom to manufacture virtually any gun or accessory it sees fit to produce. This is a 180-degree turn from what they describe in Americans and Their Guns, an official history of their organization published in 1967, which states the “NRA is not affiliated with any manufacturer of arms or ammunition or with any jobber or dealer who sells firearms and ammunition.” In one section of its website the NRA actively courts the financial support of its gun industry corporate partners; in another, where its industry financial links would heighten valid suspicions, the NRA falsely claims it “is not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any businesses that deal in guns and ammunition.”

Toni Wellen is the chair of the Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence. She lives in Carpinteria.
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