I used to be an IT executive for a Fortune 100 company that was a leader in life insurance sales. Every year I received a personal letter from the company CEO thanking me for my $5,000 donation to the insurance PAC that represented the life insurance industry on Capitol Hill. Donation? That’s a good one. I wasn’t asked if I wanted to donate the five big ones. The money was deducted from my paycheck before I got the letter from the CEO. It was understood that 5% of my net pay went to support the lobbyists in Washington, DC.
I find it almost amusing that anyone feels surprised or bothered by the fact that the gun industry donates heavily to the NRA. I mean, what’s a girl supposed to do? Sit home by herself on prom night while everyone else is out on the town? Let’s get real, folks. There would be no reason for gun companies to support the NRA if the industry wasn’t regulated by the feds and in the cross-hairs of some folks who would like to regulate it even more.
Know why gun sales always go up when regulation is in the air? Because the gun industry knows full well that the end result of more regulation is less guns. The GVP community can declare from today to next year that they believe in the 2nd Amendment, but the amendment most of them support happens to be the one that, until 2008, conferred gun ownership on members of military units, not folks who just wanted to keep a gun around the house. And while I doubt very much that a SCOTUS with a liberal majority would overturn Heller, the fact is that just about every post-Heller effort to water down gun regulations even further has failed. No matter what those crazy militia groups believe, the government isn’t getting out of the gun-control business any time soon, and even Glenn Beck, a guy who’s against gun regulations if I ever saw one, told the ‘open carry’ gang to cease and desist.
If Hillary gets elected and manages to push through a law extending background checks to private transfers, gun ownership will go down. If more states enact laws limiting magazine capacity or waiting periods for handgun purchases, gun ownership will go down. If the California bill that requires background checks for ammo sales is passed and spreads to other states, gun ownership will go down. In my state, Massachusetts, there was a brief spike in CCW applications after Sandy Hook but as soon as word got around that the state would not impose new restrictions on gun owners, the demand for licenses dropped off.
In 2014, for the first time in at least 20 years, the yearly dues revenue collected by the NRA went down, and I don’t mean by just a little bit. The decline was in the neighborhood of 27%, and if this trend continues for another couple of years, Wayne-o can kiss his bottom line goodbye. So the fact that the gun industry chipped in with roughly $100 million in cash gifts and grants doesn’t really fill the gaping hole that now exists because of the drop in dues.
Back in 2013 the Violence Policy Center released a report on money given by the gun industry to the NRA. Glock donated somewhere between $250,000 and half a mil; Smith & Wesson ponied up somewhere between a million and four, Ruger did the same. For the sake of argument let’s say these three outfits gave the NRA six million bucks. Know what their net income was that year? Try $300 million. And that was after they gave the dough to the NRA.
Talk about getting it on the cheap. Hell, I gave a larger percentage of my net income to the insurance lobbyists than Ruger, Smith and Glock give to the NRA. Anti-Hillary rhetoric to the contrary, the NRA better hope her address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come next year.