• 3 Undeniable Facts from Frontline’s NRA Documentary

    January 7, 2015


    The PBS show Frontline just put out an hour-long documentary about “The Power of the NRA.” As expected it casts the organization in a negative light. But try as they might to make the NRA look bad — trust us, they tried pretty hard — there’s a couple of very positive and encouraging things you should takeaway from this documentary.

    1. The NRA really is the most powerful interest group in Washington D.C.

    “They are the best equipped, most feared special interest group on Capitol Hill.”  

    -Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post

    One thing the Frontline documentary proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is that when it comes to political clout, the NRA really is the gold standard. There are tens of thousands of special interest groups out there pushing one issue or another, but one thing they all have in common: they’re all trying to replicate the power the NRA has.

    So why is the NRA the most powerful organization in American politics? The answer is you. And your shooting buddies. It’s also the guys at the gun club. It’s the millions of us who’re a sick and tired of being told we should just “compromise just a little of your freedom,” in the name of #GunSense.

    Right now the NRA is made up of more than 5 million members. These are people who believe so strongly in the NRA and its message that every year they renew their membership, or they buy a lifetime membership.

    But what’s even more remarkable is that these dues paying members are just a fraction of firearms owners. For every paying member of the NRA there are scores more who believe in the NRA’s message, but for one reason or another do not purchase a membership. However don’t mistake this for a lack of support. These non-members are often just as passionate about their freedoms, and they’re just as likely to vote. So while the NRA has more than 5 million true members, what they really have is an immeasurable number of active supporters, and this is what makes them the envy of all other lobbying groups.

    2. The NRA plays by the rules (really well)

    “The NRA plays the game of democracy more effectively than any other influence group in Washington. It is an organization that works the levers of democracy in a way that is not illegal or improper, it’s just very, very effective.”

    -Paul M. Barrett of Bloomberg Businessweek

    Amongst the anti-gun crowd there’s a lot of hatred for the NRA. They love to spout-off claims like “X number of Americans support banning this type of gun!” Or that “X percent of people want gun control!” Or “this many Americans think you only need a gun for hunting, and if it weren’t for the NRA lobbyists we’d have ‘#GunSense’ in America and everything would be lollipops and gumdrops!”

    Gun control zealots can (and will) shout their message until they’re blue in the face. But the reality is when push comes to shove all their stats fail to translate into votes. It’s a bunch of hot air. What makes our side different is that our members are united and they vote. It’s as simple as that. And when you live in a republic, votes matter. A lot.

    The NRA has been around a long time (they’re America’s oldest civil rights organization), and their lobbyists are good at their jobs. But what makes politicians listen more than anything else are election results, and when NRA members see candidates support gun control that candidate’s odds of being elected go down dramatically. When gun control candidates lose, other candidates get the message loud and clear. Gun control is a losing issue.

    In short, the NRA does nothing illegal. In fact they play exactly by the rules. But when you’re really good at playing by the rules, the people on the losing end will almost always accuse you of breaking those rules.

    3. Right now gun control advocates cannot beat the NRA at the federal level

    “It’s over for now. And it may be over for a very, very long time.”  

    -Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post

    This a pretty bold statement, we realize that, but we think the evidence speaks for itself. But whether they’ll actually admit it or not gun control advocates know they’re facing a near impossible battle at the federal level. That’s why they’re doing everything to circumvent congress and the political process all together. They’re turning to things like pressuring corporations, presidential executive orders, and ballot initiatives. They’ve used measures like this to get extremely flawed, anti-gun owner Universal Background Checks signed into law in Washington state, and now they’re boasting that they’re going to use that as model in more than a dozen other states. Fortunately the NRA is also very active at the state level. But once again that power rests in the hands of NRA members and gun owners taking an active role in the defense of their rights. State level politics are the new site of the ongoing gun control battle.

    In conclusion:

    As good as things appear to be for the NRA all of their power rests in their millions of active members. All of the clout and power that makes the NRA what it is would disappear without you. If you value your natural-born freedoms there are a couple easy steps you can take to ensure the NRA remains the most power force in the country.

    1. Become an NRA member. Already a member? Great, sign up your spouse, or a friend. There’s power in numbers.

    2. Become a member of your state level NRA group (such as the Iowa Firearms Coalition). The next round of the gun control battle will be fought at the state level. Supporting your local NRA affiliates will be critical to victory.

    3. Get politically active. Voting is great, but it’s not enough. Go to town hall meetings, city council meetings, primaries, caucuses, make your pro-gun voice heard. Gun owners who sit stagnant is exactly what the anti-gunners need to get gun control passed.

    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • 4 Common Myths About the NRA…Busted!

    December 12, 2014



    Originally written by Daniel T. McElrath for the NRA’s Family Insights

    Myth 1: The NRA represents gun manufacturers.

    One of the most pervasive myths about NRA is that it represents firearm manufacturers. It doesn’t. It represents firearm owners. Firearm manufacturers are represented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Yes, manufacturers often contribute money to the Association or raffle/contest prizes to one of its many programs, but NRA—at its heart—is a non-profit civil rights organization. As for firearms manufacturers, their size and cash reserves are grossly overestimated by those who oppose gun rights. A firearm is an extremely durable product with a very long service life, and is a big-ticket item for most consumers, limiting sales. Unless a firearm manufacturer is also a defense or law-enforcement contractor with domestic and/or foreign government contracts, it is typically a small operation; certainly nowhere near being a Fortune 500 company.

    Myth 2: The NRA’s power rests in how much money it gives out to candidates.

    Many gun-control advocates seem to have trouble believing that someone would disagree with them on a subject like gun control and that, if someone does, it must be the result of greed. The truth is that the NRA’s power comes not from distributing cash, but from producing votes. NRA members are politically informed and engaged, and vote in extremely high numbers. Moreover, many are single-issue voters who have arrived at the understanding that their opinions on any other subject are potentially moot without the Second Amendment backing them up.

    Myth 3: The NRA’s influence is grossly disproportionate to its membership numbers.

    This miscalculation is based on the actual number of paid NRA memberships. It fails to consider the practical realities of non-profit advocacy. Not every family can afford separate memberships for each member of the family. Many households have only one “official” member, but everyone in the home reads the NRA Official Journal and supports the Association in spirit. During times of economic hardship, organization memberships are often viewed as a luxury and are voluntarily suspended by annual members until things improve. Further, when the political situation is “good” for gun owners (for example, when there is a pro-gun administration in Washington), gun owners feel safe and often allow their memberships to lapse. And, of course, some people just aren’t “joiners.” They believe in the Right to Keep and Bear Arms but, for whatever reason, don’t formally join advocacy organizations, though they vote in support of the Second Amendment. So, while NRA may have “only” 5 million members, each of those represents many like-minded folks who turn out come Election Day and cast votes in preservation of their rights.

    Myth 4: Polls show that most Americans disagree with NRA and want more gun control.

    The mainstream press often cites polls showing Americans support gun control. Don’t believe them. First of all, many of these polls are conducted immediately following highly publicized mass shootings, when people respond emotionally. Also, you have to know how the poll was conducted and how questions were posed. If asked, simply “Are you in favor of gun control?” a person on the street may say yes. However, if you pose the question “Do you favor more gun control legislation or the enforcement of existing laws?” that same person may favor the latter.

    We also must consider whether we really want Constitutional rights determined via polling. The Bill of Rights protects the individual from “the tyranny of the majority.” The Second Amendment doesn’t say “Good poll numbers being essential to good public policy, the right of the people … .” Are we forbidden from practicing a certain religion because it’s not trending well? Do we give up the right to read a good book because it’s fallen into disfavor among the majority?
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    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.