NRA ramps up campaign against proposed gun control measures
February 21st, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 years ago

NRA ramps up campaign against proposed gun control measures

(CNN) - As Vice President Joe Biden heads to Connecticut on Thursday in a bid to generate support for sweeping gun control proposals, the National Rifle Association is trying to flex its political muscle by ramping up its campaign to oppose those initiatives.

On Thursday, readers in local newspapers in five key states – Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina and West Virginia – will see an NRA ad headlined in bold: "Will Obama's gun control proposals work? His own experts say 'No,'" the group told CNN.

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Those states are home to several Democratic incumbent senators who are expected to face tough re-election fights. They include Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

The ad campaign is also focused on West Virginia because Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller is retiring and Maine, where moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins is also up for re-election next year.

The NRA is spending about $350,000 on this campaign, a source familiar with it told CNN, which includes not only the local newspaper ads, but regional ads as well as online commercials.
The ads include a note at the end to call their senator and to tell him or her "oppose Obama's gun control proposals."

The NRA is highlighting in its new ads, as it first did in a web video last week, a January internal Justice Department memo, obtained by the group, that raises questions about the effectiveness of some of the gun control proposals the administration is pushing. The document entitled "Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies" examines prior research on whether some of these ideas have worked in the past, such as restricting large capacity magazines, universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and gun buy back programs.

The document, written by the deputy director of the Justice Department's research arm the National Institute of Justice, said reducing the availability of such magazines "could have an effect on the total number of homicides," that the 1994 ban had "limited effectiveness," and a new ban would need to be coupled with a massive reduction in supply. Regarding an assault weapons ban the memo stated: "Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicides and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapons ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence."

"The NRA ad is an outrageous misrepresentation of the president's commonsense proposals to reduce gun violence, based on an incomplete review of gun violence research," an administration official told CNN last week. "The ad claims that in order for our proposals to work, we would have to confiscate guns and create a national gun registry. That is simply not true. The president strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, and the administration has never supported a gun registry or gun confiscation."

"The ad is based on unofficial views and proposals that reflect an incomplete review of research on gun violence and do not represent the position of the Department of Justice or the administration," the official said.

The Obama administration and its supporters are also trying to exert leverage and build public support for the sweeping proposals.

Besides Biden's appearance on Thursday at a Danbury gun violence conference, he sat down for a Facebook town hall with Parents Magazine earlier this week.

The advocacy group put together by President Barack Obama's former campaign aides, Organizing for Action, sent an e-mail to supporters saying "we need to demand" votes in Congress on these measures and asked them to send their personal stories about gun violence and how to reduce it.

The administration and its backers know overcoming the power and the influence of the NRA will be very difficult – but will also be instrumental if they are going succeed.

The NRA has been successful in the past in thwarting gun control legislation by building support at the grass roots level, and that is where the group is focusing much of its efforts right now.

The NRA has seen its membership rise to record levels as the gun control debate has raged since the Newtown school massacre in December. Group officials man booths at gun shows to not only build membership but to urge attendees to lobby against the proposals.

Besides new print ads, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN the organization is tripling the buy of a web video run on various news sites. Last week CNN was the first to report the group bought $100,000 worth of ad time to air the video on various news web sites in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia, Arulanandam said.

Each of the five states has a Democratic senator seeking re-election in 2014.

To help get its message out the NRA is also airing online ads in 15 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia) – many of which will see competitive Senate races next year.

The Hill newspaper first reported the new print ad campaign.

Filed under: NRA
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Chris

    When faced with a large, complex problem, like gun violence, the best way to deal with it is through a series of small, incremental steps. Just as you don't reduce the number of vehicle fatalities by taking away everyone's cars. You do it by reducing speed limits, enforcing stricter penalties on drunk drivers, requiring safety belts, and so on and so forth. And none of these laws prevent people from driving where they want.

    You can never totally eliminate vehicle fatalities, but you can take steps to reduce them. By the same token, you can never totally eliminate gun violence, but you can take steps to reduce it. Putting guard rails along the sides of bridge to prevent someone from accidently driving off the side in reality doesn't have that much overall effect on the number of car related deaths per year, but everyone still thinks its a good idea. Yes, banning assault rifles will have minimum effect on reducing gun violence, but at least its a *start*.

    February 21, 2013 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  2. Marie MD

    Didn't the sloberring lapierre, back ih 1999 I believe, called for background check for gun purchases?
    It's on record moron! Putting a "joe the plumber" plant didn't work. We can see right through you and your minions.
    BTW – I know it will never happen and you probably wouldn't care but I wish you would have sleepless nights thinking about a six year with eleven (11) bullet holes in his/her body.

    February 21, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  3. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    useless, if its a civil war that obaam wants, he better look at the british and their attempt to take guns, it wont work, guess what happen, look at history.

    February 21, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  4. penguin

    Nothing will come of gun control because the proponents of gun control are not as passionate about their cause as are the people who believe everyone should have a gun.

    February 21, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  5. scott

    Good for the NRA. Stand up for our 2nd amendment rights and push for a real solution to the problem. Keep guns out of the hands of insane people. Avoid the path that IL, NY and CA have taken which obviously does not work, just normal people like me that feel like there is already too much control, and the push back against the attempted control will be felt in the mid term elections

    February 21, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Then what do these people propose? More prosecutions sound good but only if they stick. They are often hard to prove. If the threshold is lowered to make provide prosecutors an easier time, that might do something only after the fact. Controlling where the guns go and tracking where and to whom they are sold is a better idea that they don't want.

    February 21, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  7. John

    The last AWB was proven to be ineffective.....but yet they are pushing for it again despite all evidence it won't work. Their true agenda is obvious.

    This administration needs to address mental health, gangs, and poverty where most shootings originate from. Instead, they want to take the rights away of millions of law abiding citizens while the thugs continue to ignore laws.

    It is interesting that the places most plagued by gun violence are heavily blue cities....evidencde of their failed social programs and soft heart for many individuals that commit gun crime have priors but are back out on the streets.

    February 21, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  8. wgf

    No proposed solution is going to eradicate gun violence. But the hope is to reduce it. Maybe be we could just kill 100 less people a year., or 50 or 10. Wouldn;t that be nice ? One thing that certainly does not reduce gun violence is to maintain the status quo.

    Those who oppose universal background checks are defending the rights of criminals and the mentally ill to purchase guns. Those are the only parties that would be negatively affected by universal background checks. It's unclear to me why anyone would to make it easier for those individuals to arm themselves, and we should ask ourselves why the NRA is advocating a clear path that allows such purchases.

    Could it be that the NRA is a lobbying arm for the gun industry, and their sole purpose in life is to advocate the selling of guns to whomever wants to buy them ? More crime equals more danger, more danger means more people arming themselves for protection, which means more gun sales. Increased crime actually benefits the companies that the NRA represents. So why would they care if criminals and the mentally ill get guns ?

    February 21, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |