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NRA Is Here, There, Everywhere

Following up on Sahil Kapur’s excellent piece on the expansion of gun rights under the Obama administration’s watch, The New York Times has a nice overview today of the all-powerful National Rifle Association that basically follows the format of saying, “We all know about its role in crafting gun legislation, but did you know…” — and the list is quite impressive.

In the heath care debate, the NRA successfully lobbied to ban insurance companies from charging higher premiums to people who keep guns in their homes, despite the obvious, um, health risks. In the campaign finance debate, the NRA successfully bore a loophole so wide in the DISCLOSE Act (a measure passed by the House intended to force groups active in political spending to disclose their financial donors) that it exempted many large nonprofit organizations, including the NRA. And in the financial reform debate, the NRA successfully tacked on some language to a bill restricting credit card lenders that allowed people to carry loaded guns in national parks.

The list goes on. The reason for the group’s bullishness, according to the Times, has to do with the courts:

The N.R.A.’s expanding portfolio is an outgrowth of its success in the courts, Congressional officials and political analysts said. With the Supreme Court ruling last month for the second time since 2008 that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to have a gun, the N.R.A. now finds that its defining battle is a matter of settled law, and it has the resources to expand into other areas.

When the N.R.A. had a narrower range of targets, it relied on a core group of political figures and met with stiffer resistance from vocal gun control advocates in Congress and outside groups. It now has freer rein to leave its mark politically on issues that once seemed out of its reach.

Politico also had a story yesterday that argues that right-wing groups are almost as angry at the NRA as left-wing gun control advocates. It claims conservatives are fuming over the NRA’s consideration of an endorsement of the gun-friendly Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, and for agreeing “to play ball” with Democrats on campaign finance legislation. On the whole, however, I’d say gun control advocates are still winning in the “reasons to be angry” competition.

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