The National Rifle Association represents foreign and domestic gun manufacturers, not responsible American gun owners. Their opposition to any sensible gun safety regulations following the Newtown mass shooting — instead calling for more guns with armed guards in schools — makes it crystal-clear who the NRA really represents.
Despite the NRA’s claims that it is not influenced by gun manufacturers, many of its top donors and board members are from the firearms industry. Could this be why the NRA leadership is ignoring the will of their four million members (out of 90 million gun owners in the U.S.), 74 percent of whom support mandatory background checks, which the NRA opposes?
According to a report in The Huffington Post, since 2005, the NRA has potentially hauled in nearly $40 million from the $12-billion-a-year gun industry.
Two of the NRA’s biggest financial contributors are foreign-owned firearms companies from Italy — Beretta ($1 million to $5 million level) and Benelli ($500,000 to $1 million level).
Here are five of the NRA’s biggest gun industry backers who have contributed $1 million or higher. They include the biggest financial contributor — MidwayUSA, a distributor of high-capacity magazines, but also oil and gas company Clayton Williams Energy, Inc. Other gun industry donors include Beretta USA Corporation, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, LLC, and Springfield Armory, Inc.
Photo: M Glasgow via Flickr
Columbia, MO-based MidwayUSA is the top contributor to the NRA, claiming on their website that they have donated around $7.7 million. They are asking their customers to “round up” their purchases to the price of the next dollar so they can contribute the difference to the NRA.
The Huffington Post writes that MidwayUSA is “a distributor of high-capacity magazine clips, similar to ones that (Newtown gunman Adam) Lanza loaded into his Bushmaster rifle and Glock pistol.” The company also sells various other gun and survivalist accessories.
Photo: st1264 via Flickr
Beretta USA Corporation
Italian gun manufacturer Beretta has contributed more than a million dollars to the NRA. On the Beretta USA website, they are currently selling what they call “tactical” weapons, meaning military-style semi-automatic assault rifles, such as the Cx4 Storm and the 92FS & CX4 high-capacity magazine with 30-round capacity and a 92-magazine adapter. A notice on the website states that the high-capacity magazine is against state laws in California, New York, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts, and advises customers that they will not be shipped to these states.
One customer gave this glowing review of the Cx4 Storm: “With the latest crazy rush to purchase AR-15’s the prices of those weapons have went [sic] up over 200%. I purchased a 9mm CX4 Storm on 12/28/12 at regular retail price. Carbines offer an excellent alternative to the AR-15. The Storm is an exceptional piece of equipment.”
“The Storm” was the primary weapon used in the 2006 Dawson College shooting in Montreal, Canada that killed two, including the perpetrator, and injured 19 people.
Photo: Hardeepdhinsa via Flickr
Clayton Williams Energy, Inc.
When Texas businessman Clayton Williams isn’t polluting the air and contributing to climate change through his oil and gas company, or unsuccessfully running for Republican governor of Texas in 1990, he is contributing lots of money to the NRA.
The turning point in Williams’ defeat to Ann Richards was when he made a joke comparing rape to bad weather, saying “if it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.”
Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle via MySanAntonio.com
Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, LLC
Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, LLC manufactures and sells gun targets and frames. On their website, in addition to targets, they are also selling the “Best Shot Barbeque” grill, shaped like a military-grade weapon.
In pledging a million dollars to the NRA, company president Dennis Pierce said, “I have been very blessed with a prosperous business and now the time has come to redouble our efforts to strengthen the Second Amendment and the shooting sports. There has never been a more important time to support the work of the NRA and I hope others will come forward and join us in investing in the future of Freedom.”
Photo: PKMousie via Flickr
Springfield Armory, Inc.
Geneseo, IL-based gun manufacturer Springfield Armory, Inc. is a big time backer of the NRA. They are a four-time recipient of the NRA’s American Rifleman Golden Bullseye award. The company makes and sells semi-automatic rifles and pistols such as the M1A rifle and the M1911 pistol.
According to Wikipedia, “Springfield Armory, Inc. has played a major role in vocally opposing former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposed assault weapons ban that threatened to ban firearm manufacturing in Illinois.”
Photo: ~Steve Z~ via Flickr