The NRA leadership reaches for the crazy: true crazy or just another money grab?

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

…Of course, since those are hardly mutually exclusive conditions, it could easily be both…

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has recently ratcheted up the paranoia-speak.

He's been telling people (not just the NRA's "true believers") that President Obama is coming after their guns.  His evidence for coming to this conclusion?

Obama has NOT put forth any kind of policy to exercise more control over guns.

Seriously.  That's it.

From Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, gave me a call at home the other day. In the taped message, my friend Wayne warned me that unless I and other patriotic Americans stepped forward to stop it, the dastardly United Nations, with Iran, China, North Korea and other evil countries behind it, would soon come into our country and into our very homes, strip the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and “take away every pistol, and rifle and shotgun” that we owned.

{snip}

…[W]hy is Wayne LaPierre calling me and others to pretend otherwise?

Money is part of the reason. The United States accounts for 40 percent of the world’s exports of conventional arms, and the U.S. arms industry is nervous about legislation that might curtail their right to sell arms to whomever they wish. Those manufacturers, not coincidentally, are also heavy donors to the NRA, which is trying to whip up hysteria on their behalf.

In addition, such hysteria is part of the NRA’s own strategy for raising money for its coffers. Once the LaPierre robo-rant about the UN finished, for example, an operator quickly came on line to ask me to donate money to the NRA. I politely declined.

In case someone is wondering how much LaPierre earns as a lobbyist for the gun industry the conspiracy theory spouting head of the non-profit NRA, it's nearly a million dollars per year, according to the American Institute of Philanthropy.

That compensation, plus that of the other high-ranking officials of the NRA (here, starting on page 13 of the linked .pdf – the numbers are a couple of years old, but still eye-opening), requires a constant flow of contributions from members.

While some may think that LaPierre is crazy, maybe he's crazy like a fox – the best way to keep his followers' wallets open is to keep those followers utterly frightened.

And crazy or not, he is working overtime in that regard.

PS – Some days, I find Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball to be a little grating.  Other days, he is spot on.  The LaPierre story was one of his good days.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

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