The NRA’s Connection to Loosening Gun Laws

Joseph Garcia, Writer

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a gun rights advocacy group that aims to protect the establishment of the second amendment. They state that the organization’s main goal is to promote public safety, law and order, and national defense in the hands of the American people. The NRA secures its goals by lobbying to protect gun laws in Congress.

The NRA has gone to great lengths to secure protected gun laws to upkeep the second amendment. The NRA has made $352.5 million in revenue while also holding $197.2 million in assets as of 2018. Their funds are made up of memberships, gun sales, and sponsors for gun advocacy. Their surplus of funds has allowed them to lobby Congress members, using millions of dollars to influence the passing of protected gun laws. 

In 2008, the supreme court case of District of Columbia v. Heller ruled in favor of allowing citizens to own privately owned firearms for self-defense. The grassroots campaign of the NRA influenced the controversial supreme court decision in favor of gun laws. The NRA pushed for campaigns that would change the perspective of the second amendment towards being a necessary right to protect an individual.

Behind the scenes, the legal branch of the NRA, the ILA, lobbied funds into subcommittees to turn their favor towards the second amendment. It came with a report from senate committee leader Sen. Orrin Hatch, The Right to Bear Arms, arguing that the second amendment gave the individual the right to possess firearms. This perspective ultimately led to the District of Columbia v. Heller case, which ruled that individuals had the right to bear arms for self-defense. 

The NRA’s lobbying doesn’t stop there, as they continue to funnel funds into subcommittees, spending 7 million dollars in independent expenditures. They most notably fund the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, which holds funds over agriculture, conservation, and water projects and agencies. Although not as powerful as other committees, the House Agricultural Committee has a large following from rural regions in the United States, being a voice for many in the mid-west and south. A 2014 NRA cycle of independent expenditures showcases the NRA spending nearly 1 million dollars in funding subcommittees. They spent $30,700 funding the House Agricultural Committee and the Indian Affairs, Finance, Rules, and Health committees. In total, the ILA spent 1 million dollars funding 19 US house committees, signifying a massive influence within the House. 

The NRA has the means to influence the house and the funds to do so. This has allowed the NRA to majorly shift the perspective of the second amendment towards individual rights to bear arms as they intended to do so. The effects of their policies and the complicated and conflicting perspective on the second amendment have left modern politics in disarray. Recent shootings, such as Parkland, Stoneman Douglas Highschool, and most recently the Atlanta Spa Shootings. which left 8 women dead and dozens injured, have left people advocating towards stricter gun laws and some calling for the repeal of the second amendment.

In 2021 alone, there has been a total of 126 mass shootings which left more than a handful of people dead or injured. The frequency of shootings and gun violence has pushed activists to repeal the second amendment and pass new gun laws. However, the seeds planted by the NRA surrounding the second amendment have complicated the situation as many believe it is an attempt to take away rights from American citizens, going against the constitution. The NRA’s perspective has pushed for decades since District of Columbia v. Heller has allowed loose gun laws. It paved the way for the large frequency of shootings in the last decades. The NRA’s influence allowed a 21-year-old man access to a military-grade weapon for use on American soil, killing 8 innocent Americans.