Is the NRA Buying the Republican Party?

Art by Democracy Chronicles

Surprising as it might be, the NRA donates more money to Republicans than Democrats. While some Democrats receive funding from the NRA, the majority don’t, with the NRA giving roughly 90% of their donations to Republicans. For example, in 2016, $5 million, 9 hundred thousand, ($5,900,000) were donated to Republicans, and one hundred and six thousand ($106,000) were donated to Democrats. Bottom line- The NRA controls most Republicans, and some Democrats.

The NRA is described as a nonprofit organization. (That means they don’t have to pay taxes.) They are also described as one of the three most influential lobby groups in Washington. It has a long history, going back to 1871. It was first chartered by the editor of of the Army and Navy Journal, William Conant Church, and by Captain George Wood Wingate.

In 1934, NRA President Karl Frederick, stated during congressional hearings, “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. … I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.” Additionally, the NRA supported national Firearms Act of 1934, as well as the Gun Control Act of 1968., which combined, formed a system for federally licensing gun dealers and the establishment of restrictions on certain categories of firearms. But that was before the gun manufacturers took control of the NRA.

While the National Rifle Association may portray itself as representing “4 million members,” the truth is the NRA is made up of six legal entities, and represents the goals of gun manufacturers. Some of these entities run attack ads during political campaigns, while others lobby and collect money. After the Supreme Court foolishly, and with some laziness, announced the Citizens United decision, the NRA took full advantage of its new found freedom. In the last election, large GOP donors funneled money to the NRA, (even the Koch Brother’s network provides money to the NRA) with the intent of using them to damage Democrats using ugly, extreme advertisements.

In spite the NRA’s efforts to look like a grassroots organization, there is a great deal of evidence suggesting that corporations “profiting from unregulated gun use” support NRA activities, similar to the way tobacco lobbyists secretly funded “Smokers Rights” groups, or how polluters finance much of the confusion over climate change and global warming. In 2010, the NRA received $71 million in contributions, some coming from small-time donors, who had been frightened by fundraising appeals that warned President Obama would confiscate their firearms. However, in 2005, they changed tactics, systematically approaching their “richest members for larger donations,” using their “Ring of Freedom” program. This was also the year they sought corporate donors. The Violence Policy Center has estimated that between 2005 and 2011, the firearms industry donated roughly $38 million to the NRA. Donations came from 22 different gun makers, including Beretta USA, SIGARMS, Smith & Wesson, and Sturm, Ruger & Co.


Keith D. Foote

Keith is also a freelance writer. He has written an alternative physics book titled the Ultra-Space Field Theory, and 2 sci-fi novels. Keith has been following politics, and political promises, for the last forty years. He gave up his car, preferring to bicycle and use public transport. Keith enjoys yoga, mini adventures, spirituality, and chocolate ice cream.