Apr 27-30, 2017: Gun lobby exults and pitches a new scare at annual meeting
UNITED STATES - Visitors to the 2017 annual meeting and trade show of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Atlanta, Georgia, can expect speeches crowing about the November election results and a new pitch to keep gun sales healthy.
Salon reports that the NRA spent more than US $50 million on the 2016 election, some 96 per cent of its outside spending budget. The investment paid off, according to the magazine, with the election of Donald Trump as president and almost every other Republican candidate backed by the gun lobby. Republicans now control Congress as well as the White House.
The victory represents a mixed blessing for the gun lobby as gun sales typically flatten under Republican administrations. Conversely, scares about impending or potential gun control legislation under the Democrats set off buying sprees at weapons retailers. Some unpublished part of the revenue goes into NRA coffers.
After the election the NRA needed a new pitch to keep guns selling. Salon reports that Wayne LaPierre, NRA CEO and executive vice president, has chosen a tactic that will resonate with the membership and scare up sales. In his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, he painted a picture of the American landscape as a war zone of crime and terror that can be survived only by those who armor up like they’re going to war. The only way for conservatives to be safe, according to the magazine, is to hand over more money to gun manufacturers.
The NRA’s top priority in the aftermath of the election is nominating a Supreme Court justice who supports gun rights to replace the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia, something Trump has promised to do.