Brian Parra Profile picture
Feb 24, 2018 20 tweets 11 min read
The #NRA is a powerful functioning arms industry #lobby masquerading as a 501(c)4 #nonprofit membership organization, claiming to educate the public about the interests of its members. Here’s why we need to stop this lie and strip it of nonprofit status:
If you do the math, with 5 million members x $40 annual dues, the #NRA should have an annual budget of about $200 million dollars as a membership organization.
However, the NRA'S total budget was over $400 million in 2016 because more than half of its budget comes from individual and corporate contributions and selling advertising in publications and events.
Their major contributors are arms manufacturers and other arms industry giants: @MidwayUSA, @Springfield_Inc , Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, @Beretta_USA, @Cabelas, Sturm Rugar & Co, and @SmithWessonCorp.
During the #2016election, the #NRA spent over $100 million on campaign contributions, donations to conservative PACs & committees & purchasing advertising to promote #2ndAmendment issues.
The #NRA spent $30 million alone just to elect #DonaldTrump.
The #IRS allows that a nonprofit can engage in political lobbying, but lobbying cannot comprise a significant percentage of its activities.
The #NRA gets more than half of its budget from somewhere other than its membership and spends about a quarter of it to affect laws and promote political candidates. 25% seems pretty significant.
Have you heard of the actual gun industry trade organization that is officially registered to lobby #Congress? Its called the National Shooting Sports Foundation, @NSSF. As a registered lobby, it has to follow very strict laws about how to lobby Congress & how to spend its money.
A registered lobbyist has to be transparent about campaign contributions, gifts, even record when and how often they walk into a congressperson's office. Individual lobbyists are only allowed to give $5000 directly to a candidate, same as any citizen.
In 2016, The @NSSF spent a mere half a million dollars on #lobbying activities. That's the trade federation of one of America’s most successful manufacturing industries spending the same as @Harvard University, a single school.
Are we are supposed to accept that in 2016, the #NRA, a club for #gunenthusiasts, managed to outspend the @NSSF, the arms industry trade organization 200 to 1?
That is like the local bridge club mysteriously outspending the @AARP to challenge raising the retirement age. It’s not that they don’t have a legitimate stake in the issue, but that sort of money should raise some eyebrows.
The #gunindustry gets more bang for its buck by donating to the #NRA while its own trade organization sits idle because the @NRA’s #nonprofit status means those dollars are tax-deductible for arms manufacturers.
Also, the #NRA can take stances that are blatantly favorable to #gunmanufacturers while posing as a membership organization, thus being able to advance policies that sell more guns, even if polling real #gunowners might reveal they'd support a more sensible policy.
A trade organization advancing the same policy would not have their position legitimized as supported by real gun owners; their motives would be much more transparent and could be weighed against the opinions of people, as advanced by an honest association of citizens.
The @NRA's legitimacy comes by claiming they represent the views of its vast membership and every issue is framed as an evenly matched struggle between two competing halves of the American population and that the #2ndAmendment should settle the issue.
Actual @NRA members are only 1.4% of the American population and half of the dollars they use to curry favor with @GOP lawmakers come from gun manufacturers NOT its membership.
It’s time to strip the @NRA of its #nonprofit status & suspend its #lobbying privileges for acting in bad faith. Prevent it from receiving tax-free donations from gun manufacturers, amplifying its voice, obstructing gun reform, & endangering us all. #GunReformNow #GunControlNow
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