Plus: How the National Rifle Association sold its grassroots firepower to the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, and conservative donors.
|1967||The NRA declares it “is not affiliated with any manufacturer of arms or ammunition.”|
Hardliners oust NRA leadership for going soft on gun rights. New president Harlon Carter turns the group into a political powerhouse.
|1982||Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and other gun companies help fund the NRA’s $5 million drive to defeat California’s “handgun freeze” proposition.|
|1991||The NRA asks 16 gun makers for input on whether it should start a satellite TV channel to present “our truthful unbiased story.” Manufacturers are enthusiastic.|
NRA president Charlton Heston tells gun manufacturers facing product liability lawsuits: “Your fight has become our fight. Your legal threat is our constitutional threat,” even if “others are going to say we’ve become what they’ve always thought—a shill for the industry.”
|2000||The NRA organizes a boycott of Smith & Wesson after the gun maker works with the Clinton administration to make safer guns in exchange for legal immunity. Taurus firearms offers a free NRA membership to all customers, bringing in more than 40,000 members over the next 12 years.|
|2004||The NRA helps block renewal of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban. Rifle production jumps 75 percent in the following seven years.|
Congress passes the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocks product liability suits against gun makers and sellers—a shield no other industry enjoys. The NRA launches its Ring of Freedom campaign to enlist corporate partners. By 2011, about 50 gun companies sign up, raising as much as $38 million. Beretta USA and ammo maker MidwayUSA kick in more than $1 million each.
The NRA thanks Glock for signing up 10,000 of its customers as new members.
|2008||Beretta pledges $1 million to the NRA over the next five years.|
Friends of NRA launches on the Outdoor Channel; episodes include visits to gun companies such as Winchester, Barrett, and Taurus. Ruger promises the NRA $1 for every weapon it sells in a year. It ends up donating $1.2 million. Gun industry and other corporate donations to the NRA total more than $59 million.
|2012||MidwayUSA donates $1 million to the NRA; Smith & Wesson donates more than $1 million.|
|2013||The CEO of the Freedom Group, maker of the AR-15 rifle, is nominated to run for the NRA board of directors. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety website declares the group is “not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers.”|