NRA Secrets

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

I first learned about the National Rifle Association from Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine. It was an uncomfortable introduction that involved a salty confrontation with former NRA president Charlton Heston. Now Richard Feldman, a former top lobbyist for the NRA, has written a book called Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. This expose leaves nothing uncovered, as it delves into the inner workings of one of the nation's most powerful lobby groups. Some facts that surprised me: between 80 and 100 million Americans own guns, NRA membership soared after the shootings at Columbine, and Bill Clinton received an "A" grade from the NRA. Today's segment is not a debate about gun control. It's an exploration of the policies, tactics, and goals of the NRA. So if you're a gun owner that believes in second amendment rights, does the NRA represent your interests?

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The NRA uses scare tactics? Duh! We used to get their magazine 1st Freedom and it was chock-a-block with alarmist articles about how this politico or that were trying to take our guns or some other sort of fear mongering. After the racist 'Octopus' cover we stopped our subscription and canceled our membership.

Sent by L. L. Daugherty | 2:14 PM | 11-15-2007

I've a much easier time liking guns and gun rights than some of their fans.

Self-defence is very important, and if you're willing to kill to do that a gun or rifle makes sense. On the other hand, acting like a pistol is an inextricable part of your manhood is just plain laughable and pitiable, and claiming that everyone who doesn't share your particular views is Hitler-in-waiting makes for bad politics.

Sent by Dabney Braggart | 2:15 PM | 11-15-2007

The NRA was labeled as a "powerful lobby" at the beginning of the show. That seems to be a loaded comment. I was looking or listening for something more neutral. As you know, such words may cause less analytical listeners to take a particular side. While I generally dislike the NRA, I would prefer not to hear the opinion/inference/bias of the broadcaster.

Sent by SomeGuyInMichigan | 2:18 PM | 11-15-2007

I saved my summer money to buy a lifetime NRA membership when I was 16. Feldman is right that fear of loss of rights drives up NRA membership, but then elections drive up voter registration and announcing a power plant drives up the passions of local environmentalists. The claim seems unremarkable to me.
He should note that most of the anti-gun organizations also pay their top people 6-figure salaries that are way too high. But neither side plunders their members as much as upper management at large corporations plunder their employees and stockholders.

Sent by Michael Thompson | 2:18 PM | 11-15-2007

I think this discussion has to be put in context. What do the heads of the Red Cross and Planned Parenthood make? How about Yale's president? Comparing the head of NRA's salary relative to a Congressman makes no sense. Everyone knows Congress members take a lot under the table and are much less successful.

Sent by Jack | 2:20 PM | 11-15-2007

As a former member of the NRA, I share Mr Feldman's view that the organization exploits its power for the personal gain of someone - although, not the lower level members.
I let my membership lapse in the late '70s, when the tone of the argument seemed to divert too far from personal ownership of firearms, off to the assault rifle and Teflon bullet issues, which did not register well with me.
Powerful clubs or societies have always wielded their power, so what the NRA is doing must not come as a surprise. We must determine who's getting rich off of the proceedings.

Sent by David Hines | 2:22 PM | 11-15-2007

The NRA most certainly represents my interests. Unlike certain groups such as American Hunters and Shooters, the NRA does not advocate limits on lawful firearms. No one limits how many books I can buy in a day or possess, why do they concern themselves with how big peoples collections are?

Sent by D A Chow | 2:30 PM | 11-15-2007

I agree with other folks who, like I, are exNRA members. Too much junk mail. Too much whining for more money. But who ya gonna call when you want someone to give some protection to our 2nd rights amendments. Who's going to let you know what's going on with gun "control"?

Sent by Tom Sommer | 2:30 PM | 11-15-2007

I own handguns and long guns, but the NRA? No way! I think that the NRA is a political group, not a gun-owners' group. I disagree with their stand that ANY limit on gun ownership is some kind of liberal plot to disarm us so that the One-World Government will be free to take off in their black helicopters.
I think that it is crazy to oppose laws that would restrict gun purchase, allow the sale to civilians of powerful military weapons, and support the open availability of "cop-killer" bullets. Come ON, people!

Sent by Bill Supon | 2:31 PM | 11-15-2007

Thank you so much for discussing this organization in the open.

What is the relationship between the gun manufacturers and the NRA? Is it 'standard policy' for the NRA to fight ANY effort to 'control guns in America' no matter if it would really benefit the majority of Americans?

I am a gun owner but NOT an NRA member!

Sent by Dave Hunt | 2:32 PM | 11-15-2007

My father was an avid hunter and a member of the NRA. Both he and I agreed, however, that the NRA failed its membership by not making a distinction between their representation of lawful gun ownership for recreational purposes and unlawful gun ownership for felonious purposes. If the NRA worked as hard to protect the American public from dangerous guns whose only purpose is to do harm as they work to frighten people into believing gun ownership is a matter of personal safety, both my father, now deceased, and I would have more respect for the organization.

Sent by Judy Sharpton | 2:35 PM | 11-15-2007

I have an issue with what Richard said on air about wanting to keep 'suspected terrorists' from purchasing guns. All this talk of protecting our rights and we forgot one of the most important: Innocent until proven guilty.

Sent by Matt Bailey | 2:36 PM | 11-15-2007

The discussion turned to a debate on gun control and lost its focus.

Sent by Mary Beth Smith | 2:37 PM | 11-15-2007

I and all my family have been hunters and gunowners all our lives. In fact I just came in from hunting and turned on your program. I am against the NRA. I believe their rigid, at times absurd positions do more to turn people against those of us who use and enjoy guns. Some level of control is logical and needed, as is done for alomost any activity we engage in (driving, voting, drinking, etc.) That is, nobody has a legitmate use for many of the military type weapons available. They're made for killing people- period. And they should not be available to everybody who wants to play John Wayne.

Sent by Christopher Deren | 2:39 PM | 11-15-2007

Wayne LaPierre deserves every penny he receives. I would submit that he is one of this Nation's best executives.
I am an Endowment-Life Member and a Golden Eagle. I am also a 30 year member of Minnesota Public Radio.
I firmly believe that without the NRA our Second Ammendment rights would vanish. I support the NRA 100%.
The snide tone of your commentator and the general direction of his questions is inappropriate.
The NRA is a lobby of like minded people. The folks on the other side out spend the NRA at every turn. The NRA certainly doesn't have a George Soros feeding it millions of dollars. The NRA gets it's money from little guys like me sending in $25 or $50, as my budget will allow. I only wish I could do more for the NRA.

Sent by Charlie Leavitt | 2:41 PM | 11-15-2007

I earned my sharpshooter badge in the NRA junior marksmanship program. My father wasn an NRA life member who resigned in protest 30 years ago. I'm still a gun owner and I think the NRA is a thoroughly un-American organization. Of course it's a powerful lobby. The question is why millions of Americans take leave of their senses when the NRA sounds the call.
My father quite the NRA despite being president of Savage Arms, a respected firearms manufacturers. He and industry peers founded SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Institute, so they could help write the 1968 gun control act in spite of the NRA's hysterical oppositon.
It's a shame this once honorable organization lost its way. It's a bigger shame that so many people are duped by NRA demagoguery.

Sent by David DuBuisson | 2:42 PM | 11-15-2007

Hello. I heard Mr feldman mention that NRA's demand that the FBI destroy applications for the purchasing of guns (after one day) legally hinders law enforcement. This may be. But this is a privacy issue. In my view, this info is should not be accessible to the govt. Believing that the govt has the right to keep and share this info is assuming that a lawful gun owner will eventually murder someone.. Should we do the same with all of the automobile purchases in the USA? After all cars account for a lot more lives in this country, including children.
Thanks Marco

Sent by Marco in Oklahoma City | 2:42 PM | 11-15-2007

I am a gun owner, my friends describe me as the only hippie they know who is packing heat. Guns to me come down to common sense, I know people who have guns lawfully and who have almost shot me while hunting. I also know 'criminals' who laughed at me for asking why they carry a loaded pistol saying to me, 'I've got a kid do you think I'm Going to leave a loaded gun around?'

Sent by Jeff Smith | 2:54 PM | 11-15-2007

It ought to be mentioned that NRA is more than a political lobby with millions of members (and all of the difficulties an organization that size will endure); it's also a large educational organization, teaching children about firearms safety and adults about firearms safety and use.

I am an NRA certified pistol instructor, and also an NRA certified range safety officer. My three children have benefited greatly from NRA sponsored educational programs often enough, and most importantly have spent time with me on the range, handling small caliber rifles.

I apologize for this blatantly rhetorical question, but here goes:
How important is education?

I figure we learn life's lessons in three gross ways: we learn from mistakes (not good with firearms); we learn by thinking and planning (less than 1% of the time); we also learn through mimicry (which is why TV is actually dangerous).

Now take a kid who has seen lots of TV, but has never learned how to clear a firearm, or has never been taught about its safe handling. He's likely a kid whose parents think guns are bad. An uneducated kid with a firearm is simply dangerous.

Through their educational programs NRA has probably saved a lot of families from firearm accidents and misery.

NRA may be a political lobby, and shackled with the same seemingly hypocritical issues any organization of its size would encounter, but through its educational programs it is a literal life saver.

Sent by Alan Wild | 3:02 PM | 11-15-2007

1. Yes, it represents my interests.

2. Having known Richard Feldman, and written a book on Michael Moore, I'd suggest their names should not be used together. Moore's attack on the NRA was purest duplicity. While I haven't read Richard's book yet, I'd expect to be honest.

3. Might I propose that you interview your humble servant undersigned, regarding his documentary film "In Search of the Second Amendment"? You can find it with a Google.

Sent by David Hardy | 3:08 PM | 11-15-2007

NRA has unfortunately become an example of a good idea gone wrong. They appear to be following the radical ideas of the few in power at the top of the organization and no longer represent the views of the rank and file membership. This is not specific to NRA - AARP suffers the same problem as do other powerful lobbying organizations such as organized labor. AARP must spend more than I pay them in annual fees to manipulate my views and fish for fake opinions. They send me surveys that are impossible to respond at all if I don't agree with their agenda. For example, they might ask 'do you hate, dislike, or abhor the idea of a partial privatization of social security?' I am a proponent of minimal governmental regulation. However, lobbying organizations such as these have become a big liability for fair representation in government. There was a provision included in one of the campaign finance reform initiatives that would have required the signature of individual members to allow contributions to particular campaign. This provision applied to all lobbying groups would help to prevent the misuse of the power that these organizations wield.

Sent by Steve Struble | 3:25 PM | 11-15-2007

Having been a lobbyist for the NRA for four years and Director of Federal Affairs for three, I knew Richard Feldman and have no compunction whatsoever in suggesting that if there was no money in bashing the NRA then he probably wouldn't be involved. There are more certifiable heroes in the NRA than just about any other organization in Washington, D.C., save, perhaps the VFW. Those who disagree with the NRA generally, no invariably, don't know what they are talking about in terms of issues; technical,statistical,factual, logical, or from a constitutional perspective relying on an overwhelmingly anti-gun press. The NRA does more to promote gun safety, lawful gun ownership, and civil liberties than any other organization in America today. Were it not for the NRA the Second Amendment would be a historical footnote. If it goes, so does the rest of the Bill of Rights. Feldman is despicable in the extreme.

Sent by Joseph Phillips | 3:31 PM | 11-15-2007

The comment about the gun manufacturers' group (SAAMI) having been founded to split with NRA and support the Gun Control Act of 1968 tallies with my historical research.

One secret of the period was that the primary push for the Act, beginning in 1960, came from gun makers. The chief pusher of the Act, Tom Dodd, Sr., came from Connecticut, home to many major gun makers.

Why? Gun mfrs were facing competition from mail order houses that were buying surplus military rifles and reselling them for under half what a modern civilian rifle went for. For $20 a buyer could get a gunsmith to convert the surplus rifle into a very nice deer gun. The manufacturers wanted to kill that competition. So the Gun Control Act (1) outlawed importing military surplus guns (a restriction lifted in the 1990s) and (2) required a person buying from a licensed dealer to receive it in his premises, and to buy only from a dealer in their state of residence (so the mail order houses went out of business).

Sent by David Hardy | 3:53 PM | 11-15-2007

It is my personal opinion, as a bleeding heart liberal, that the 2nd amendment exists to protect me from my own government. There is no wording in the constitution about hunting or self defense, or any other thing. As such, I quite consider it my right to own a bazooka (or some other ridiculous thing) in order to overthrow my government when it fails to represent me (read the Declaration of Independence). As it is, I do not live in New Hampshire and I do not have a guaranteed right of revolt. Too bad. However, were I really quite serious about intending to own large arms, I would put a trigger lock on my hypothetical tank.

I am greatly concerned by fear-mongering in general, and that of the NRA in specific. As a potential future gun-owner, I do not feel that it would represent my needs and political interests.

Sent by pw | 3:55 PM | 11-15-2007

The folks on here who are gun owners, but former NRA members obviously do not have much experience dealing with people who would come take your guns from you in a minute if the NRA and gun owners like me didn't stand in their way every chance we get.

That's not paranoia, folks, and if you think it is, you're not paying attention.

Sent by Sebastian | 4:02 PM | 11-15-2007

Ms Grashaw, I have to say that if you first learned about the National Rifle Association from Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine, then you were badly misinformed. Michael Moore is a well documented serial liar. I invite you to read David Hardy's documentation of the many frauds that Michael Moore perpetrated upon you:

http://www.hardylaw.net/Truth_About_Bowling.html

Sent by Kevin P. | 4:06 PM | 11-15-2007

I let my membership in the NRA lapse when I felt too much time (read money) was spent defending the ownership of any type of artillerary by individuals. I was especially bothered by the teflon bullets issue. There is so much I like about the NRA that I never speak against it. I definitely intend to read Mr. Feldman's book because he was on the inside. In my opinion, the NRA was at its best when Howard Pollack was its president.

As to the interview that was suppose to be about the NRA and not gun control...wha' happen? At least one of your other guests (not a listener) used his time to present his pro-gun control viewpoint. Not kosher!

Sent by Sherry Innes, Kenai, Alaska | 4:15 PM | 11-15-2007

"So if you're a gun owner that believes in second amendment rights, does the NRA represent your interests?"

Absolutely not. The NRA has been inside the beltway too long. They're far too willing to compromise. Look at their support of the Brady Bill, the "cop-killer bullet" ban, their backing of the current Brady bill expansion.

They are the 800-pound gorilla in this fight, but it's been a decades-long fight by the membership to get the leadership into the fight, and to keep them in it, to the limited extent that they are.

I know it's popular among the opponents of gun control to think that if it weren't for the NRA, the opposition to gun control would be gone. The NRA is following this movement, responding to it, and yes, to an extent, milking it for profit.

But they are not responsible for it.

It wasn't the NRA that killed S&W.

Sent by JDege | 4:31 PM | 11-15-2007

I recently upped my NRA membership to life. I see
nothing unreasonable in any NRA positions. The strategy
of gun banners against the NRA and 2nd amendment is to
use a multi-angled attack: to arbitrarily ban many guns
by cosmetic features, to falsely portray hunting as
the reason for gun ownership and then ban guns they claim
are not "suitable" for hunting, to claim the NRA puts its
interests before law enforcement, and so on.

The NRA is a strong supporter of law enforcement with
specialized police training programs and has former police
in its leadership. Two examples are past president Kayne
Robinson who was an Assistant Chief of Police in Des Moines
and current president John C. Sigler who was a Captain on
the Dover, Delaware police.

John Rosenthal pretends to be a gun supporter as
his chosen ploy to weaken our Constitutional right. The
anti-gun activists want to do here what they did in England
and Australia: namely register, license, and limit firearms
until the time is right and then ban and confiscate guns.
Their eventual goal is to have a world ban on firearms
and the United States is their biggest hurdle.

Sent by Patrick Daly | 4:43 PM | 11-15-2007

As a daily listener of NPR and regular contributor to the fund drives, your program with Richard Feldman was very disappointing. As a rule, as far the 'liberal' media is concerned, I have generally been happy with how NPR has approached the 'gun issue' and you generally do a good job of (attempting) to cover both sides of the debate. This show however featured no guest to balance Feldman, with John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence - who did his usual job with fabricated 'facts' about the evils of guns - it was a one sided hatchet job I would expect from CNN, not NPR.

Sent by Will Brink | 4:55 PM | 11-15-2007

The NRA is only partly a political lobbying organization. But why is it surprising that it has political ends and that its members seek to further those ends? What about AARP what about the Brady campaign? and any other lobbying organization? Their purpose is the same.
As for paranoia and scare tactics; when you read what gun controllers really want you learn that "reasonable" gun control is merely incremental steps on the way to a total ban. They may say they don't want hunting rifles ... but a 30-06 deer rifle with a scope will be looked on as a "sniper rifle" in civilian clothing.
The 2nd Amendment is not about the right to hunt, it is about the fundamental right to self defense and access to the most effective tool for that.

Sent by David Avera | 4:57 PM | 11-15-2007

I think that it is crazy to support the open availability of "cop-killer" bullets. Come ON, people!

If this comment above was referring to positions of the NRA, it is false. First off, what are "cop killer" bullets? The NRA has never supported the open availability of any such thing. In fact, there isn't any such thing as a "cop killer" bullet. See for yourself here.

Quote: The NRA opposed the proposed law since it would have banned not only the controversial armor piercing handgun rounds, but nearly all conventional rifle ammunition as well. (Most rifle ammunition will easily penetrate the most commonly worn protective vests.)

Sent by Ben | 5:01 PM | 11-15-2007

I met Richard about a week before his book was published. Richard is a very envious and disgruntled person. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a file to show me how much money Wayne LaPierre made from NRA members' dues expecting me to be outraged. I was surprised how little he made. In perspective, it was less that fifty cents per NRA member. I'd say Richard thinks he should be in a position of great prominence but he just does't have the 'right stuff.'

I just found his book's ranking on the best seller list from Barnes and Noble. It is Number 47,789 - I kid you not.

If you want it wait a couple of weeks and go to the remainders table.

Sent by Jack Anderson | 5:43 PM | 11-15-2007

I've been an NRA Life Member since my teens (I'm 51 now and a CPA). The NRA is largely responsible for the fact that there is still a right to arms, for without them back in the 70'-80's it might well have dissappeared (remember, Feinstein said on public TV that if she had the votes she would have told Americans "to turn them all in").

But, in the last 10 yrs say, I think they've become to timid. For example, the NRA leadership continues to insist they support "no guns in schools" which is INSANE. Extending the right of licensed concealed carry holder to carry on campus would protect rather than endanger students, as that right does elswhere. The NRA has become to wililng to bow to political correctness in an effort to accomodate our enemies.

They don't get my money anymore.

Sent by scott | 6:20 PM | 11-15-2007

I could take issue with any number of comments I heard on the show, but the assetion that 'anyone can buy a gun without a background check' is simply over the top. When I buy a firearm, I am subjected to a NCIS background check for a criminal record, I am also subjuct to a local check for restraining orders and the like. Even when buying a firearm at a gun show, I'm required to show a WAC membership card, for which I was subjected to... that's right, a criminal background check. Where does NPR's guest buy his guns?

Sent by J Friederichs | 6:44 PM | 11-15-2007

The NRA makes it real easy for any terrorist group to come into our country and get guns. NRA is responsible for our fallen officers.

Sent by lagaresh | 6:56 PM | 11-15-2007

NPR has unfortunately become an example of a good idea gone wrong. They appear to be following the radical ideas of the few in power at the top of the organization and no longer represent the views of the rank and file listenership. This is not specific to NPR - AARP suffers the same problem as do other powerful lobbying organizations such as organized labor. AARP must spend more than I pay them in annual fees to manipulate my views and fish for fake opinions. They send me surveys that are impossible to respond at all if I don't agree with their agenda. For example, they might ask 'do you hate, dislike, or abhor the idea of a partial privatization of social security?' I am a proponent of minimal governmental regulation. However, lobbying organizations such as these have become a big liability for fair representation in government. There was a provision included in one of the campaign finance reform initiatives that would have required the signature of individual members to allow contributions to particular campaign. This provision applied to all lobbying groups would help to prevent the misuse of the power that these organizations wield.

You could say the same about many orgs, huh?

When it comes to my Second Amendment rights, the NRA is the only effective organization that stands between me and government entities that would minimize those rights into extinction. Thus, the anti-freedom forces (and NPR is included therein) seek to paint the NRA in extremist terms. Well, you can sell that bunk to the simple-minded, but I ain't buying.

Sent by Letalis Maximus, Esq. | 7:26 PM | 11-15-2007

No, They compromise entirely too much on
our constituional right to bear arms and sell many gunowners down the river.
They seem to think that gun ownership is only for hunters and has nothing to do with protecting our country from tyranny.

Gun Owners of America and
Jews for the preservation of Gun ownership have gun owners best interests in mind than the NRA.

Sent by Raven | 8:01 PM | 11-15-2007

"I was especially bothered by the teflon bullets issue."

If you were truly an NRA member and followed the hype built up about teflon bullets, cop killer bullets, or any number of ridiculous hyperbole then you would know there is no such thing. the NRA and many credible sources debunked the cop-killer teflon bullet as a farce along with the plastic gun fallacy pushed in the 80s.

As a simple matter of fact teflon coated bullets, designed by a police officer to enable shooting through certain objects, are less effective at penetrating vests than ball ammunition. The fact that you saw a movie in which a character had his vest penetrated by a bullet sprayed with Teflon, i.e. Ronin, doesn't make it reality.

The fact that you are completely uneducated about the issue shows your ignorance of the subject and casts your credibility into doubt. Clearly you quit the NRA under false pretenses or you were never actually a member. further. the NRA has always supported "reasonable" restrictions on gun ownership and background checks to keeps guns out of the hands of people convicted of felonies. To claim otherwise is pure balderdash.

Sent by AMowry | 8:01 PM | 11-15-2007

I'll take organizations like GOA,
JPFO, and SAF over the NRA any day
of the week. Those organizations
are much more pro-gun than what has
become of the NRA. Wayne and his
buddies have weakened the NRA.

Sent by Sam E. | 8:11 PM | 11-15-2007

The NRA "compromises" more than I'd like, but then, I don't live in Washington, D.C. Reality often matters more to me than politics.

It wasn't the NRA that squashed S&W, and it wasn't the NRA that "Zumbo'ed" Jim Zumbo. That was us (and I do mean us, as I played a tiny part in both those actions) the American gun owners.

The NRA absolutely uses scare tactics to raise money from memberships. Nobody else does that, except Handgun Control, Inc. (now called the Brady Campaign) the NAACP, AARP, UAW, NEA . . . . the list goes on. I'm a member of the NEA as well as the NRA, so I happen to know that the NRA is not exactly unique.

The only reason groups like the Brady Campaign, Violence Policy Center, and Million Mom March don't do such things is that they have no real membership from whom to raise money. Every member of all three of those groups could send in $100 tomorrow and they'd be hard-pressed to keep the doors open. What keeps them running is megabucks from a small group of very wealthy donors. Meanwhile the NRA is run on a few dollars at a time, but from millons of people.

Sent by Don Gwinn | 8:28 PM | 11-15-2007

Gun control is a perfect illustration that proves that Liberals are all about control not freedom. Not leaving us common people alone to live our lives quietly with our families. If you like more taxes, more illegals, more crime in your area, and of course sticking their liberal noses into whether or if any of us chooses to have a particular kind of hardware at our disposal.

Sent by The Mechanic | 8:53 PM | 11-15-2007

You sock and birkenstock wearing commies better get down and pray to whatever hippie type moonbeam you can find that the NRA stays strong.
If it weren't for the NRA you gun haters might be dealing with a real gun rights organization. The kind that fights for full restoration of our Constitutional Rights.
Remember this tonight while your listening to Dylan on your Ipod. There are many true Patriots that will keep you from reaching your goals of a socialized America.

Sent by Mocalotteryscratcher | 9:48 PM | 11-15-2007

As I read the excerpt from Richard Feldman's book, I was looking for something concrete, but he just used the typical socialist-Democrat-liberal technique of name-calling. He describes what the NRA actually does, but in sarcastic prose, as tho he's presenting a bill of indictment - in other words, he uses innuendo. He doesn't say anything which justifies his vituperation. He gives away the cause of his bitterness when he mentions "settlements to imminent municipal law suits," which he favored but his employer did not. That's the nearest he comes to saying something definite, and that's not a valid argument.

Sent by Dan Althoff | 12:04 AM | 11-16-2007

The Gun Owners of America more closely protect my freedoms. I am a life NRA member, but I feel they are not as in line with protecting my rights as the Gun Owners of America. The NRA does however have many more members. The interesting thing is the NRA was a safety organization that presented gun safety courses for decades until unfriendly members of congress started trying to infringe on the second amendment.

Sent by Paul King | 1:07 AM | 11-16-2007

I am a gun owner and a member of the NRA. Mr. Feldman admits with clarity that compromise with those that oppose 2nd Amendment rights always limits the right, never expands it. Gun rights are slowly dying the death of a thousand cuts, and Mr. Feldman has inflicted his share. The NRA has not fought hard enough, been too willing to compromise, been to weak and accepting of the slow death of our Bill of Rights- in the end guaranteed only by the second amendment.
The NRA has done some good, they championed CHL laws in many states and slowed the death of this right of last resort. Their education and marksmanship programs save lives and train many that become police and defense forces. They are at best, a poor defender of gun rights, at worst the Dr. Kevorkian of the Bill of Rights.

Sent by Richard Bolton | 1:44 AM | 11-16-2007

I wasn't able to hear the whole program, but I was quite perturbed by the introduction by fill-in host (whose name I couldn't find on this website) who used about seven or eight extremely loaded words to describe the NRA. This guy is just as bad as Farai Chideya was about simpering before left-wing guests.

As a current member of my local NPR affiliate, please listen to my plea: I can tolerate a little lean to the left, but not to the extremes the fill-in host goes to. I shouldn't be able to detect the political bias of the host in the first 30 seconds of the program. Please, try for some balance.

Sent by ListenerInReno | 2:38 AM | 11-16-2007

I see so many propaganda lies here it's amazing. NRA had no, as in NONE, political arm till after the 1968 Gun-Bill.. The lie they opposed the "Cop Killer Bullets" law is a lie. The law they opposed should of been called "The Immediate Bankruptcy and Closure of Ammunition Maker's Act" they opposed.
It would be like making all cars NOT Hybrids illegal to stop air pollution. It would work but 98% of car makers business would be illegal and gone. A bit over the to don't you think?
The Second Amendment if you look at it clearly gives the state control of all armed groups, known then as militias but protects individual rights to arms. Implicit but not listed is a public protection limitation for high end weapons like anti-tank rifles and grenades.
But I love seeing folks talk about "super powerful military weapons". In most states the ammunition used in these guns would be too under powered to hunt with. If a hunting gun can drop a 400 pound deer or a 600 bear what will it do to a 150 pound human? That's real firepower. Make all non-hunting guns illegal and see how many die from the "safe" hunting guns. death rates will soar and it will cause public out cries.
Of course that will lead to the call for ALL guns to be made illegal, the ultimate goal of the lead gun control figures even if they won't say it.

Sent by Doug C. | 3:45 AM | 11-16-2007

The NRA never supported "teflon bullets" folks. Don't believe the crap the media tells you.

http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VG2.html

Go there if you want real information about the whole KTW scare in the 80s.

Sent by Sebastian | 10:56 AM | 11-16-2007

The fact that there is "gun control issue" at all is due in no small measure to the failure of the media to truly educate itself about that about which it reports. Or perhaps that gives the media too much credit. Is it a failure to educate itself (mere laziness) or a failure to be truly objective in its reporting?

The media today seems more interested in perpetuating the conventional wisdom than uncovering and reporting real facts.

Sent by D. Lencioni | 1:31 PM | 11-16-2007

Christopher Deren wrote:
"That is, nobody has a legitmate use for many of the military type weapons available. They're made for killing people- period."

Mr Deren, if you actually researched the history and intent of the Second Amendment, you would realize that these type of weapons were exactly the ones the foundings of this country intended citizens to carry. The Second Amendment is about the ability of the people to resist and overthrow tyranical govenment, hence the intent that every citizen have unrestricted access to the most effective, highest quality tools for the job.

As for the second half of my quote, well that's like saying that the only purpose of cars is for having wrecks. There are plenty of legitimate uses for guns other than killing people.

P.S. Did you know that all your "hunting" weapons are direct descendants of military weapons? Doh!

Sent by Robert Ries | 12:32 PM | 11-19-2007

A lot of people seem to like to use the word "Teflon" when talking about armor-piercing handgun ammunition.

Just to clarify, the original KTW armor-piercing bullets were made of a mixture of materials that were HARDER than the barrels of the guns they were being fired from.

That same mixture of metals was what allowed them to pierce things like car doors, engine blocks, and yes, "bulletproof" vests.

The solution was to coat the hard metal bullet in Teflon, which would protect the barrel from damage when fired, yet would not affect the AP ability of the bullet when striking the target.

Teflon itself contributes absolutely nothing to the armor-piercing capability of a bullet, no matter how much people claim it does.

One side-effect of the whole cop-killer bullet debate is that it advertised to the bad guys that cops wore protective vests. Knowing that, they aimed for the head. And to think the police administrators thought they were doing their officers a service!

Sent by Steve F. | 5:18 PM | 11-19-2007