|photo from Boston Globe|
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is among the most influential and successful non-profit advocacy associations in the country. Their power derives from their ability to support and to elect candidates and legislators favorable to their policies.
Those policies favor wider gun ownership, relaxed rules about when, how, and where firearms can be carried and a lenient attitude towards the use of firearms as weapons of defense. Yet, despite their power and success, the NRA faced widespread criticism when they advocated for armed guards at every school to prevent a recurrence of the mass murders in Newtown, CT.
My purpose is to discuss how an organization such as the NRA arrives at policy decisions and how this process can affect you. My purpose is not to evaluate the effectiveness or wisdom of the policy.
The NRA gets about $100 million in funding each year from the firearms industry: the makers, the sellers and the advertisers. This $100 million investment begets a $4 billion return. The lifeblood of the NRA is the money of those who profit from the sale and use of firearms. It is the interests of the industry that dictates the policies of the NRA.
The NRA is hypocritical when they claim that gun ownership is a Constitutional right. The NRA consistently wants to infringe on the Constitutional rights of the media, movie makers, and creators of violent video games. The NRA tried to blame video game makers, slasher films, and the media for the reason so many were killed in a school in Newtown, CT. The NRA is willing to attach blame and to fault others, but are unable to accept or acknowledge any misjudgments of their own.
Such an attitude toward the Constitution is not unusual or exceptional. Hugh Hefner became a huge defender of "freedom of speech" when the sale and display of "Playboy" was protested.
Before supporting any non-profit organization, consider who profits from the advocacy association. Often big business are members of non-profit advocacy associations simply for marketing purposes.
From this perspective, that the NRA is a marketing tool of the firearms industry, it is apparent that the "armed guard" policy was inevitable. It was the only position the organization could adopt that would satisfy their true mandate: sell more firearms in an expanding market.