NRA Survival Skills

Does the gun lobby serve its own interests or those of its members?

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Every sincere and open-minded contributor to the National Rifle Association should read the op-ed piece in the December 16 edition of the Washington Post. The writer, Richard Feldman, who once worked for the NRA, explains how the organization is now more about money than hollering about Second Amendment rights.

Feldman accuses the NRA today of morphing from a reasonable lobby group to a money-making machine for its executives and well-placed friends.

A stark example is Wayne La Pierre, the executive vice president and mouthpiece for the group. Feldman said La Pierre earned $950,000 in 2005.

La Pierre makes a very comfortable living for denouncing anyone who has the temerity to restrict guns in any way.

Feldman adds of the NRA headquarters: "The parking lot at the association's twin-glass-towered headquarters...is filled with shiny new BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes."

Perhaps the 3 million or so members of the NRA don't mind the six-figure salaries or expensive cars of its executives. But they should be aware that Feldman was treated like a traitor when he proposed a voluntary gun lock for weapons sold to owners. He had left the NRA then but was lobbying for an association connected with the gun industry.

Worse for Feldman, he stood alongside President Clinton—the NRA's targeted devil—when he made the proposal in the Rose Garden of the White House.

Predictably, the NRA went berserk. Such a reasonable idea was bad for business and the money coffers of the group. Feldman also reminds us that the NRA's friends in outside lobby groups share in the take.

Wake up, NRA members. A day of reckoning may come for a group so unwilling to compromise on any restriction of weapons. Those weapons continue to cause mayhem in our cities, in our offices, and even on once safe college campuses.