The National Rifle Association claims to speak for more than 4 million gun owners. But the shots are really called by a hush-hush group of 76 directors. The majority are nominated via a top-down process and elected by a small fraction of NRA members. A breakdown of the current board, based on their official bios:
87 percent are men. 93 percent are white.
25 percent are current or former federal, state, or local lawmakers or officials.
22 percent are current or former law enforcement officers. 30 percent are current or former members of the military.
24 percent are lawyers.
12 percent are entertainers or athletes.
64 percent are hunters. 71 percent are sport or competitive shooters.
At least 71 percent were nominated, endorsed, or selected by the NRA's Nominating Committee.
Some notable members of the NRA's current board of directors:
The Magnum, P.I. star, gun buff, and vocal gun-rights supporter was the top vote-getter in 2008's board election. (Fellow '80s TV heartthrob Erik Estrada sought a seat on the NRA board in 2011 but eventually withdrew his candidacy.)
At the NRA's 2012 annual conference, the Nuge announced, "If Barack Obama becomes the next president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year," prompting a meeting with the Secret Service.
"I love speaking out for the NRA in large part because it drives the left a little bit nuts," says the Iran-Contra conspirator and Call of Duty pitchman.
The former NRA president helped craft and implement Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which provided a model for similar self-defense laws in 24 other states.
"About the only thing I'd rather do than play basketball is hunt," says the retired NBA player in an recruitment ad for the NRA.
A record-holding shooter, Clark has been on the board of directors since 1999 and is currently the head of the NRA's nominating committee, which helps pick the majority of board members. She lives in Newtown, Connecticut.
R. Lee "The Gunny" Ermey
Former Marine turned actor is best known for his turn as a drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket (who is gunned down by a suicidal recruit). He's also a spokesman for Glock.
Wayne A. Ross
In 2009, Sarah Palin nominated the former NRA vice president to be Alaska's attorney general, but lawmakers passed on him after he was accused of making homophobic and sexist comments.
The head of the Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights organization now known as a climate-denyingastroturf outfit. While representing the United States at a UN arms conference in 2001, Innis explained, "The Rwanda genocide would not have happened if the Tutsis had had even one or two pistols to fight back with."
Carl T. Rowan Jr.
Formerly a cop, FBI agent, and vice president for the private-security firm Securitas.* He is the son of columnist Carl Rowan Sr., who once caught a teenager swimming in his backyard pool and wounded him with an unlicensed handgun. (Update: As of July, 2014, Rowan no longer appears to be an NRA board member.)
The former Idaho senator sponsored a 2005 law protecting gun makers from liability in connection with their products being used by criminals. The NRA spent $1.8 million on lobbying Congress that year.
The president of Americans for Tax Reform is a NRA Life Member and member of the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association. After Newtown, he echoed the NRA's line: "We have got to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes."
A couple of years ago, Google's chief economist predicted, "The sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians." (Hello, Nate Silver!) If you aren't quite ready to spend your life running regressions, Naked Statistics provides a taste of the hot data action. With a dollop of corny jokes and just a dash of math, Charles Wheelan (a Dartmouth prof) offers a conversational introduction to the concepts you need to understand everything from why "rich nerds" should have seen the 2008 Wall Street collapse coming to the best strategy for winning a car on Let's Make a Deal. If your interest in statistics is above average, this book is worth sampling.
In his response to the Newtown mass shooting, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre slammed ultraviolent movies and video games for celebrating killing and catering to our antisocial fantasies. Not surprisingly, he did not mention the abundance of paraphernalia marketed to law-abiding gun owners that glorifies firearms and minimizes gun violence. Ten t-shirts that exemplify the uglier side of pro-gun gear:
"AR-15 Asshole Remover"
That's the same rifle that was used to remove 26 lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Bearing witness to the worst year of gun rampages in modern US history.
—By Mother Jones staff
| Fri Dec. 21, 2012 5:16 AM EST
The media coverage tends to linger on the killers. But as the nation mourns the excruciating losses in Newtown—and finally begins to confront an epidemic of mass shootings amid the worst year for them in modern US history—it is equally important to bear witness to the victims. What follows are portraits of 151 people physically wounded or killed in the rampages of 2012. In addition to the victims of this year's seven mass shootings, we've included the victims of similar but less lethal rampages in a Portland shopping mall, a Milwaukee spa, and a Cleveland high school.
The total number of lives devastated by these attacks far exceeds 151, of course, starting with survivors who narrowly escaped physical harm, such as the unidentified six-year-old girl who played dead and walked out of Sandy Hook Elementary School against all odds. Mother Jones has only included photos of those injured and killed that were shared publicly by the families or survivors themselves, or for which we were granted specific permission. For essential context and findings from our in-depth investigation, also see our guide to mass shootings in America.
Scroll down to begin, or jump directly to any of these attacks of 2012:
Front cover of the NRA's 2006 brochure "Freedom in Peril" National Rifle Association
"Second Amendment freedom today stands naked in the path of a marching axis of adversaries far darker and more dangerous than gun owners have ever known." So opens "Freedom in Peril," a slick 2006 brochure by the National Rifle Association that serves up the group's agenda with a heavy dose of omnious hyperbole. The UN and George Soros are coming for your guns! PETA will ban hunting! Suburban dadsmust defend their families from torch-carrying marauders!
The document's text and its illustrations are so over-the-top that when they were first leaked by Wonkette, there was speculation that they were a hoax. But the NRA confirmed they were real, though it maintained they were from a stolen draft of a publication that has still yet to be publicly released.
In their introductory note, NRA president Waye LaPierre and chief NRA lobbyist Chris Cox warn of "the coming confrontation" between the "pro-freedom voting bloc" and "the gun-ban crowd." Though they focused on the threat of anti-gun legislation carried out under the guise of fighting terrorism, LaPierre and Cox also anticipated the calls for action that might follow an event such as the Newtown massacre:
It's inevitable that terrorists will infest America for generations to come. It's also inevitable that an anti-gun president will occupy the White House, and anti-gun forces will control the U.S. House and Senate. This is when the alchemy explodes, never to be contained again. When these two certainties intersect, America's anti-gun agenda will emerge in full force masquerading as an anti-terrorist agenda. Unless we are well-financed to face that moment, the final disarmament of law-abiding Americans will occur beneath the shroud of anti-terrorism legislation. […]
History teaches us that their assault will be precipitated by a high-profile criminal act, like an L.A. riot, a D.C. sniper or a schoolyard shooting. All it takes is a rare, tragic anomaly to roll out a blood-red carpet for the gun-ban crowd.
The brochure criticizes the "tragedy chasers" and "vultures" who sensationalize and politicize gun violence, including school shootings. The NRA has a history of not commenting on prominent shootings (including, so far, Newtown), though "Freedom in Peril" suggests that it will not stand on the sidelines much longer:
Until now, NRA has rightfully declined to join the debate, because no effective solution includes infringement of the Second Amendment. Although tragic, these incidents have called for no more anti-gun measures than any other crime committed with firearms.
But the advent of domestic terrorism, compounded with recent high-profile school shootings, force America's gun owners to join the national discussion in a way we can no longer decline. Not because the Second Amendment is at fault, but because the Second Amendment is at risk.
As its guardian, NRA must accept the financial responsibility to take its place at that table of debate, and prevail. […]
Too often, the media have given enormous attention to school murderers as a tactic to promote the gun-control agenda. Too often, such attention has likely led other sociopaths and losers to conclude that their one chance to become famous is to attack a school.
The document also features fantastic images of the NRA's foes, including Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, and congressional Democrats.
And it's not just the liberals and one-world-government types you should be afraid of. "Freedom in Peril" also reminds NRA members who the real scary gun owners are: "[T]o criminal aliens, America is a giant supermarket, and nobody's minding the store."
BoingBoing still has the full document; download it here.