During the first part of this year, leading up to the horrific recent string of mass shooting, the National Rifle Association spent lobbying House and Senate members against laws that would create stricter background checks for gun buyers.
The NRA targeted dozens of bills, with one in particular being H.R.8, a bipartisan effort that has already passed the Dem-controlled House but hasn’t been seen by the Senate yet. Recent disclosures show that NRA lobbyists continued to campaign against the bill even after it passed the House. Aside from this, the NRA lobbyists would like to see changes made to to the Background Check Expansion Act from Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Many Americans are calling for stricter background checks and more gun control in the wake of the recent string of mass shootings that left dozens dead. Trump recently tweeted in favor of background checks and the Trump campaign has spoken on his support of them as well, along with his condemnation of white supremacy and violence but reporters say there has been no mention of the NRA’s efforts.
The NRA, which has spoken out against expanding background checks, spent $30 million to support Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Under the condition of anonymity, a senior NRA official told CNBC that the group opposes background checks but supports laws which would force gun store owners to be in control of reviewing and disallowing sales to potential buyers based upon arrest records or history of mental illness.
Although Trump has denounced the attacks, which the NRA has agreed with, he has not mentioned background checks in his recent speeches and focused more on “red flag” laws that are meant to take firearms out of the hands of those who might be a threat.
The NRA released this statement:
“The National Rifle Association welcomes the President’s call to address the root causes of the horrific acts of violence that have occurred in our country. It has been the NRA’s long-standing position that those who have been adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms and should be admitted for treatment.”
The recent disclosure reports do not mention the names of those in Congress who have met with NRA lobbyists but it’s pretty easy to see via the organization’s political donation record which politicians the NRA is backing.
The National Rifle Association of America Victory Fund is the NRA PAC and recently donated $4,950 to Senate Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell, according to the Federal Election Commission. North Carloina Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was given $2,450 while Trump allies Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows received received $1,000 donations.
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. called out McConnell:
The House passed HR8, a Bipartisan Background Checks Act, *5 months ago* and the Senate has yet to vote on it.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 4, 2019
It was one of our 1st major priorities after ending the gov shutdown.
You’ve been sitting on it since February giving bogus excuses.
Care to explain the people why? https://t.co/l5ZSDyPyWw
Over the last couple of years, the NRA has averaged $5 million PER YEAR on spent on lobbying efforts. Close to a million of last year’s efforts were spent during the 2018 midterm election cycle, with most of the money being pumped into Republicans. It has spent $61,000 towards the 2020 election cycle so far, with most of that going to GOP campaigns.
Even though the NRA is still pumping money into Washington, the group is no stranger to controversies. Recently its former lobbying chief Chris Cox resigned in June after being accused of plotting against NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Amid that controversy, Oliver North resigned as president because he was accused of trying to blackmail LaPierre with damaging information.