3 Myths about the NRA Debunked

By CTD Scott published on in News

I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about the NRA on Facebook, Twitter and this Blog. So, I decided to take three of the most common myths and shed some light on the conversation.

“The NRA supports Universal Background Checks”

Though I wrote about this several weeks ago, I feel I need to address this topic again. Recent news articles claim the NRA is having closed-door talks with politicians in order to work out a background check deal. Though these articles typically come from less-than-reputable news sources, they have created quite a buzz. The NRA stated on multiple occasions they are not in the business of Universal Background Checks and they staunchly oppose the implementation of Universal Background Checks or anything that could lead to a National Firearms Registry. Though I am not behind those closed-doors on the Hill, I can speculate that any background check discussion would be the NRA’s push for strengthening and improving the current system. As it stands today, the NICS system is imperfect, incomplete and unenforced. Obviously, there is the occasional problem with false positives—letting a restricted person, such as a convicted felon, purchase a gun—and false negatives—mistakes made that cause a legal gun owner to be rejected for purchase of a new firearm. However, and more importantly, felons attempting to purchase weapons through the NICS system are not usually prosecuted, though it is a federal felony to lie on Form 4473. Also, adjudicated mental disorders are not regularly reported to NICS, allowing the person in question to purchase a firearm despite federal law. The NRA supports measures to improve the system, so people who shouldn’t have guns can’t purchase them. Let’s look at the official numbers:

  • In 2010, over 6 million NICS checks were made. 98.8% of those were legal gun owners.
  • 1.2% or 72,659 people were rejected in the NICS system as not able to purchase firearms.
  • 34,459 of those were felons and 13,862 were fugitives (others were domestic abusers, drug addicts, and those with restraining orders against them).

How many of those people were prosecuted for their felony gun crime? 62. And how many of those were convicted of their crime? 13. Judging by the numbers, it is clear our background check system could use a bit of improvement. If the NRA does come out backing any type of “background check deal,” I’m quite certain it will involve actually enforcing the laws on the books and improving the NICS system to ensure that people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase guns can’t actually buy them.


“The NRA sold us out then, and they’ll do it again!”


I have seen and heard many comments along this line. The NRA pushed this way or that on some bill or another that restricted gun rights. Is it true? In some ways, yes. The NRA-ILA and the CRLDF take on hundreds if not thousands of cases every year. And though we would love to “never give an inch, never surrender,” sometimes the best or only option is to compromise; such as in the 1986 “Firearm Owners Protection Act.” This bill prevented the BATFE from repeatedly harassing or intimidating FFL dealers and gun owners, prevented prosecution for transporting across state lines, prevented a national firearms registry and prevented prosecution for transporting a firearm through a state with restrictive gun laws. However, the law also added that fully automatic weapons had to be registered or they could not be owned or transferred. Despite the added “machine gun ban” amendments, the NRA still backed the bill because the benefits to gun owners were great strides in gun rights. Automatic weapons were already highly regulated by this time, so it was worth it to the lobbyists to let registration of automatic weapons go. So, in a way the NRA did turn their backs on gun owners. However, the NRA did so only to gain more rights for gun owners in exchange for a little extra hassle for automatic weapon ownership. To put it in a contemporary setting, if Congress was voting on bills for an assault weapons ban, magazine ban, universal background checks, and a national firearms registry, the NRA would resist those bills and push a less intrusive “One percent extra firearm tax to pay for better school security” bill. (I must note however, that the above is only an illustration, not any sort of accurate estimate of the NRA’s legislative agenda. It is merely an example of how the NRA would compromise with Congress to push actual common sense solutions that would have more effect in the real world.)


“The NRA is just a shill for the gun and ammo manufacturers!”


This is something I’ve heard too many times. There is some truth to it, but not much. The NRA is made up of members who love shooting, collecting, hunting, and everything else gun related. People who love guns and want to keep their rights to own and use those guns join the NRA to join the largest lobbying and interest group in the nation. People who work for the shooting sports industry, such as myself, my colleagues, gunsmiths at Beretta, ammo manufacturers at Remington and the gun cabinet guy at Cabelas, all join the NRA because they defend our firearm passion and livelihood. Companies often donate money to the NRA to protect our RTKBA. But is the NRA just taking orders from all gun companies? No, the NRA takes orders from the members of the association; the guys and gals who love guns and want to keep their rights. If any group is a “shill” for the firearm and ammunition companies, it would the NSSF, but even that is a stretch. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade organization that represents all of the companies that make up the shooting sports. Their job is to protect and defend shooting industry companies and rights. However, in this industry, the views of the NRA and the NSSF almost always are directly tied if not the same. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” the old saying goes, and what is good for the gun owner is good for the gun industry.

I hope I have cleared some myths up for you. If I haven’t, or if you have other questions you want answered, please tell me in the comment section. I will field whatever questions you have regarding the NRA or current legislation and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.

If you would like to join the NRA, please take advantage of the discounted membership.

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Comments (18)

  • David Deitsch


    To those who belive in the right to keep and bear arms, but will not support the NRA, what group DO you support? Talk is cheap. What are you doing?


  • John T


    What is the group masquerading as a gun rights group that is actually a shill for Bloomberg?


  • Gary TX


    I realize we(the NRA) need “brighter minds” in management, but it seems to me the administrative costs are excessive. I don’t expect the upper management folks to work for free, just because they are successful business people, most with substantial income from other sources, but if they want the support of “grass roots” gun owners, it be better not to see them on african safari’s and high dollar banquets and such. I just think the image that is projected not the best for gathering financial support
    from the “general public”. I think this is affecting the “shift” to NAGR. I appreciate all that the NRA has done, and continues to do. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with polititions, lobbyist, and the like. I will continue to support the NRA to the extent I am able, but I am retired, and my income is shrinking all the time, so my support will also shrink.


  • Jim H


    #12 “DOUBLE HELICAL” You have said a mouth-full! A divided house will never stand. The government loves dissension, and “divide and conquer” is their mantra. Stick together folks, or we will all go down together. Swallow your pride….just a little bit.


  • james west


    To #11 G Man. You are right, I only read a few posts before I respond. Given there are more than 200 posts on different Blog sites (and more as you input), I do not have a chance to read every Blog. I am unfamiliar with NAGR, but will be looking at their site and probably joining, along with my NRA membership. I realize you do not believe in compromise, but many times that is the only option. Compromise involves getting as much as you give. I suspect you view compromise as surrender, which I do not subscribe to. Thanks for the heads up on NAGR. I subscribe to the NRA with one year memberships. If I feel they are headed in a direction I do not agree with, I do not renew. The same will be true with the NAGR. These days, numbers count. We should all belong to as many pro-gun advocacy groups as possible, until we win this war.


  • Double Helical


    Hey all you guys! If you want to join any other group, fine! Go ahead! But one thing the anti-gunners want is US fighting amongst OURSELVES! Say anything you want about the anti-gunners, the media shills, etc. BUT don’t say ONE WORD against any other pro-gun organization. Even if you don’t like what they do: button your LIP! We need to stand UNITED. As good old Ben Franklin said, “Gentlemen, we must all hang together, or we will certainly hang separately!”

    AND: be especially wary of posts and blogs that PRETEND to be pro-gun, but try to get us fighting amongst ourselves. Think about what you hear or read, and ask yourself if this post might just be from an anti-gunner in disguise.

    BE Skeptical. Be wary. Be wise. And most of all, stick together.

    And let’s not have any more of this foolishness!


  • G-Man


    @ james west (comment #8). I guess you don’t read other’s posts, you just write. Please read my post (G-Man comment #4) above. Millions are defecting to the NAGR for the very reasons you’ve mentioned. We do vote – with our donation dollars and put the money where we feel they are most effective, which is not the NRA.


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