NRA Pushes Bill to Outlaw Anti-Smoking Programs

Photo collage from Flickr users <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/transcendent/4732155238/">Spoony Mushroom</a> and <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/42787780@N04/6447341369/">Fried Dough</a>


The National Rifle Association is worried that Kansas might try to discourage gun ownership. So it is throwing its weight behind a bill that would prevent the state from spending money lobbying against “any legal consumer product”—a category that includes, among other things, tobacco and junk food.

Although State Bill 45, debated yesterday by a state Senate committee, focuses on lobbying efforts at the state and local level, a broad interpretation of the language could prevent Kansas from spending anything on programs that discourage the use of harmful products. The bill could “scuttle public health campaigns and other proven public health programs,” the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday, citing testimony from a Democratic senator and a representative from the American Cancer Society.

The NRA appears to favor this broad interpretation. “Other states allow taxpayer funds to finance expensive advertisement campaigns that demonize perfectly legal products—from everyday consumer products to firearms and ammunition,” reads the gun group’s website. “SB 45 would prohibit this practice in Kansas and make sure that public money is not used to put law-abiding gun owners in the crosshairs of an agency with a political agenda.”

State money could still be used to discourage underage drinking and smoking because those activities are illegal, an NRA spokesman told state senators yesterday. He added that the group’s “major concern” was the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which has “put forth pamphlets and booklets providing for one-size-fits-all gun control measures.”

The NRA’s approach to science, politics, and public health has often drawn comparisons with the tobacco industry. In Kansas, at least, it’s a relationship that the gun lobby now appears to embrace.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate