#12: History of the NRA

Table of Contents:

The Rise and Demise of the National Rifle Association
A Noble Birth
A Shot in the Dark
Non-Profit—Tax Exempt—Intense Scrutiny
The NRA’s Mirror Opposite
Oliver North—The NRA & the IRS
The NRA’s Legal Troubles—Oliver North v. Wayne LaPierre
Gabby Giffords v. NRA


The Rise and Demise of the National Rifle Association

Its initials—NRA—in all caps—are recognizable in every state, city, town, and rural hamlet in America. The NRA[1], aka the National Rifle Association, stands for gun manufacturers, the gun lobby, gun owners, and gun enthusiasts, in that order. It has, over its 149-year history, morphed from an association of like-minded men to one of the most powerful and most influential gun lobbies widely influencing American gun law, culture, and ideology.

Other famous organizations also had similar, wide, initial-recognition status. The IRA[2], aka the Irish Republican Army, was an “Irish republican paramilitary organisation created to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate Irish reunification and bring about an independent republic encompassing all of Ireland. It was more military than the NRA, just as gun-connected, but with loftier aims.”[3]

The SAF[4], aka Second Amendment Foundation, is a US nonprofit organization that supports gun rights. “It publishes gun rights magazines and public education materials, funds conferences, provides media contacts, and has assumed a central role in sponsoring lawsuits favoring gun ownership and use. It may be almost as important to the gun manufacturing industry as the NRA is.”[5]

The GOA[6], aka Gun Owners Association, is a US gun rights organization. “It makes efforts to differentiate itself from the larger NRA, and has publicly criticized the NRA on multiple occasions for what it considers to be compromising on gun rights. It often opposed the NRA in its endorsements and ratings of politicians and candidates. The GOA has been described by Congressman Ron Paul as ‘The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.’”[7]

ALEC[8], aka the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a “nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.”[9]

A Noble Birth

Madame Wikipedia says, “A few months after the Civil War began in 1861, a national rifle association was proposed by Americans in England. In a letter that was sent to President Abraham Lincoln and published in The New York Times, R.G. Moulton and R.B. Perry recommended forming an organization similar to the British National Rifle Association, which had formed a year and a half earlier. They suggested making a shooting range, perhaps on the base on Staten Island, and were offering Whitworth rifles for prizes for the first shooting competition with those rifles. They suggested a provisional committee to start the Association which would include: President Lincoln, Secretary of War, officers, and other prominent New Yorkers.”[10]

Neither President Lincoln nor his Secretary of War joined, but the idea had legs and the NRA was first chartered in 1871, by William Conant Church and Captain George Wood Wingate. Its first president was a Union Army Civil War General named Ambrose Burnside, who had worked as a Rhode Island gunsmith. “Union Army records for the Civil War indicate that its troops fired about 1,000 rifle shots for each Confederate hit, causing General Burnside to lament his recruits: ‘Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn.’”[11]

The NRA’s original purpose was to advance rifle marksmanship. It still teaches and trains, but today it exists mostly as a lobby group in Congress and many states. It has directly lobbied for and against firearms legislation since 1975.[12] Its Wiki page claims, “Nearly 5 million members as of December 2018, though that figure has not been independently confirmed. . . Observers and lawmakers see the NRA as one of the three most influential lobbying groups in Washington, D.C.”[13]

It is unquestionably one of America’s most argued about organizations. In the twentieth century it was highly visable. In the twenty-first century it seems to come and go. A battle cry sometimes attributed to a famous Mexican Revolutionary General, Pancho Villa, comes to mind. “I have the duty to inform you that Pancho Villa is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”[14]

A Shot in the Dark

In every organization—public or private, big or small, open or closed—the key to success is membership. In some organizations the membership is family, in others it’s public. Business entities are operated for profit; social entities are operated as non-profits but still make money. Gun rights organizations, like the NRA are, or at least were organized to advance a common membership interest. Even brand-new organizations have a history. Some are sunny, others dark. Some beloved, others besieged. Some are true to their history. Some not only deny it, they die because of it.

Frank Smyth is an outsider. He’s an NRA member; his March 2020 book is titled, The NRA—The Unauthorized History. The Amazon pitch for the book says, “The National Rifle Association is unique in American life. Few other civic organizations are as old or as large. None is as controversial. It is largely due to the NRA that the U.S. gun policy differs so extremely—some would say so tragically—from that of every other developed nation.”[15]

A May 2020 review of the book by Robert Draper in the New York Times said the book was, “An earnest and refreshingly even-tempered, if not entirely thorough, account of the most feared lobbying force in America.”[16] Mr. Draper believes Mr. Smyth to be a good archival researcher, but was not impressed by the book’s depth. The book does not inform on the NRA’s inner workings of its ad campaigns, membership drives, backroom arm-twisting and pressure from both the right (Gun Owners of America) and the left (Moms Demand Action). The book does not engage about how it stoked fear during the Obama presidency, or how an avid hunter named Donald Trump Jr. helped broker the group’s ironclad relationship with his father, a former supporter of gun control. Most frustrating, according to Mr. Draper’s review of Mr. Smyth’s book is the lack of reporting or shedding any new light on the NRA’s financial relationship with Russia.”

Mr. Draper defines the NRA’s evolution; A Reconstruction-era organization with a mission to improve military preparedness—then into a gentlemen’s hunting club—and finally into a Second Amendment absolutist. He reports the NRA took no notice of our first notable gun law, in 1911, requiring a gun license for non-officers. Later it supported legislation clamping down on firearms used by organized crime. It grew “radically from 1945 to 1968, from 84,000 members to over one million, but its politics did not.”[17] The NRA’s transition from a membership structure in the mid-seventies into a lobbying wing “ousted its moderate leadership and installed aggressive new replacements.”

Non-Profit—Tax Exempt—Intense Scrutiny

There is rarely anything good that comes out of a mass shooting on a high school campus. However, the February 2018 shooting deaths of seventeen people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, did cast a bright light on the dark shadow of the NRA. The emotional bereavement and the politically charged town hall on gun safety changed minds and hearts about the NRA. Both turned heads from Florida up the Atlantic coastline to Washington. Snopes.com reported on the town hall meeting.

“The National Rifle Association [is] under intense scrutiny for its opposition to gun control. Many at the meeting and around the country were surprised to discover that the NRA, well known for its political lobbying and ties to the gun industry, is in fact a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. On 22 February 2018, the “Really American” Facebook page posted a meme that showed President Donald Trump holding a replica flintlock rifle, along with this message: The NRA has non-profit, tax-exempt status. Even though they transformed from an organization for gun owners to an organization for gun manufacturers, and donate millions of dollars to politicians to make sure they vote the ‘right way.’ Corruption in action.”[18]

While many think tax-exempt organizations are non-profit because they are charitable or religious organizations, there are other ways to secure tax-exempt status. Groups can call themselves “social welfare organizations” and acquire tax-exempt status under IRS Rule 501(c) (4). The IRS recognizes entities that operate “exclusively to promote social welfare.” They must exist primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community, most often justified by bringing about civic betterment and social improvements. Often, a 501(c) (4) organization, like the NRA, is allowed to engage in political lobbying and advocacy, although this cannot be its main activity. To keep their favored tax status the political lobbying has to relate to their primary mission.

“Critics of the NRA have claimed that the organization’s tax exemption should be taken away, because, roughly speaking, the NRA spends less time and money providing a genuine service to the public at large than it does on political lobbying, and because the NRA’s activities benefit the private gun industry. In its 2015 tax return, the NRA described its mission as ‘Firearms safety education and training and advocacy on behalf of safe and responsible gun owners.’”[19]

The NRA’s Mirror Opposite

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is also a tax-exempt organization; it is the mirror opposite of the National Rifle Association. Through its efforts and that of its sister organization, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, it is a leading national advocacy organization opposed to gun violence.[20] In April 2016, it published a report labeling the NRA “a tax-exempt [organization] loaded with private interest.” The authors, attorney Alexandra O’Neill and financial analyst Daniel O’Neill said, “The majority of the NRA’s lobbying, education, training and publication activities operate to benefit a private interest: the firearms and ammunition industry. As a result, under the cases and rulings interpreting section 501(c) (4), the NRA does not primarily serve the community interest and should not qualify as a tax-exempt social welfare organization. Instead, the NRA should operate as a political lobbying organization to be accountable for its key interests: the firearms and ammunition industry.”[21]

Oliver North—The NRA & the IRS 

Oliver North is a legend in gun culture, personified by intrigue, industry, and political influence. He is widely known as a political commentator, television host, military historian, author, and retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. His Wikipedia page[22] notes he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, and served as National Security Council staff member during the Iran-Contra affair—the 1980s political scandal during the Reagan administration. He was elected as President of the NRA on May 7, 2018. He resigned just short of a year later, on April 27, 2019, “amidst a dispute with the organization’s chief executive Wayne LaPierre.[23] The North-LaPierre dispute is opaque, but this much is on North’s Wikipedia page:

“In April 2019, in the midst of a wide-ranging dispute involving the NRA’s chief executive Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s advertising agency Ackerman McQueen, and the NRA’s law firm Brewer Attorneys & Counselors, North announced that he would not serve a second term as president ostensibly against his wishes. On April 16, 2019, North and NRA first vice president Richard Childress wrote to the chairman of the NRA audit committee and the NRA’s secretary and general counsel calling for an independent audit of the billing from the NRA’s law firm, Brewer Attorneys & Counselors. In an April 24, 2019 letter to the executive committee of the NRA board, North said that he was forming a committee to investigate alleged financial improprieties; allegations, which he said, threatened the NRA’s non-profit status. On April 24, 2019, North asked LaPierre to resign. In an April 25, 2019 letter to the NRA board, LaPierre said that North was threatening to release damaging information about him. On April 27, 2019, in a letter read on his behalf at the NRA’s annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, North announced he would not serve a second term. North’s term ended on April 29, 2019.”[24]

In July 2019, North said in court documents he filed that he “was thwarted when he tried to raise alarm bells about alleged misspending and denied that he tried to oust the organization’s longtime top executive. The documents detail concerns North said he raised over several months and the efforts he said he took to try to have NRA spending audited and reviewed by an outside, independent entity. He said the red flags began to emerge this past spring when he heard that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had received tens of thousands of dollars in clothing, private jet travel and other perks from the group’s longtime marketing firm, Ackerman McQueen.”[25]

The NRA’s Legal Troubles—Oliver North v. Wayne LaPierre

The April 2019 blowup between Oliver North and Wayne LaPierre soon turned nasty. It cost “the powerful gun rights group $100 million, according to a recording of the group’s board meeting obtained by NPR.”[26]

In the January 2020 recording, LaPierre criticized the investigations by the New York and Washington, D.C., attorneys general, bemoaning, “[t]he power of weaponized government. And he told the NRA’s board of directors, assembled for the group’s winter meeting in January, that the organization has had to make $80 million in cuts to stay afloat.”[27]

Eight board members resigned. As of June 2020, the NRA was locked into protracted and costly legal battles with its longtime public relations firm. LaPierre said, “The scandals that have consumed his organization since 2018 have cost the group dearly. The cost that we bore was probably about a hundred-million-dollar hit in lost revenue and real cost to this association in 2018 and 2019, LaPierre said, according to a tape recorded by a source in the room. ‘I mean, that’s huge.’”[28]

NPR reported that the figures “are the first time that LaPierre has put a figure to how much the ongoing legal battles have cost the organization. For context, the NRA and its affiliates raised more than $412 million and spent more than $423 million in 2018, the last year for which there is public reporting.”

To weather the storm, LaPierre said he “had dramatically reduced the size of the organization’s budget. What we did in order to survive and adjust is we took in 2019 and 2020.  . . about $80 million in real costs out of the NRA budget,’ LaPierre said. ‘I mean, we kinda reframed this entire association. We took it down to the studs.’”[29]

Although the NRA has maintained its membership level, “LaPierre claims it at right around 5 million, he said that there was still much to do: ‘We’re not out of the woods yet. We still gotta wrestle with this financial situation’. . . . In the ongoing litigation between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen, a brief filed by the firm on April 15, 2020 indicates its belief that the NRA has paid its outside legal counsel ‘over $54 million’ in the last two years.”[30]

Gabby Giffords v. NRA

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has spent the past twenty-five years fighting for laws, policies, and programs proven to save lives from gun violence.[31] Its core mission is the antithesis of the NRA’s hopes to sell more guns. As expected, it tracked the NRA’s legal and financial story on its website. “Over the past few months, stories about the National Rifle Association have spilled into the light of day, painting a picture of an organization in disarray. For the first time in memory, the NRA seems to be teetering on the brink, hemorrhaging both money and support. How did we get here? The trail is long and full of infighting, flirting with foreign governments, and cuts to the office coffee budget.”[32]

The Giffords Law Center’s blog contains an astounding thirty-six articles and press releases from sixteen national media outlets. The reporting is arrayed chronologically and in headline style, with short narratives.

1. Illegal Campaign Conduct—According to a broad range of election and advertising records, the NRA appears to have illegally coordinated with multiple political campaigns—violating federal law that prevents independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with campaigns.

2. Shell Companies and Trump—Giffords and the CLC (Campaign Legal Center Action) filed FEC complaints documenting illegal campaign coordination involving the NRA and the Trump presidential campaign. The group spent $25 million, mostly on television ads, through the same companies—and often the same executives—who placed spots for the Trump campaign, violating well-established campaign finance laws. [HuffPost]

3. Court—The FEC has dragged its feet on addressing these allegations, so in April, Giffords and CLC sought to compel the agency to investigate these millions of dollars in illegal, unreported, and excessive in-kind contributions by suing the FEC. The suit is still pending. [ABC News]

4. Russian Ties—In 2015, a Russian gun rights group, Right to Bear Arms, sponsored an NRA delegation to visit Moscow. Present on the trip were former NRA President David Keene, soon-to-be-president Peter Brownell, Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, NRA donors Jim Gregory and Arnold and Hilary Goldschlager, and Jim Liberatore, the president and CEO of the Outdoor Channel. [The Daily Beast]

5. Spy Games—The trip was organized by Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician who ran Right to Bear Arms, and Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist who was sentenced in April for failing to register as a foreign agent. [The Washington Post]

6. Emails—The trip involved NRA executives meeting with senior Kremlin officials. In the years since the visit, the NRA has attempted to distance itself from the visit and the group’s ties to Russia. However, uncovered emails revealed that NRA employees worked directly with Butina to coordinate travel arrangements. [ABC News]

7. Grassroots Donors—Although they deny the funds were used for election activity, the NRA admitted to the Senate Finance Committee it had received roughly $2,500 “from people with Russian addresses” or Russian nationals living in the United States during the 2016 cycle. [The New York Times]

8. FBI—In her plea deal, Butina stated her goal was to “establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics.” Questions have been raised after it was reported that the FBI was looking into allegations that Torshin and other Russians may have funneled funds to the NRA as part of the group’s $30 million it spent to support Trump’s election. Since these revelations, congressional investigators have investigated the full extent of the relationship between the NRA and Moscow. [The Guardian]

9. Financial Woes—Big investment, little to show for it. Finances have long been a sore spot for the NRA as their returns on investment continue to flounder. Despite spending $9.6 million on lobbying Congress in 2016 and 2017, the top five bills that the organization identified as legislative priorities were not signed into law. [Bloomberg]

10. Shopping Sprees—Wayne LaPierre’s travel agent and tailor had more success than the NRA. This past May, news reports revealed that the NRA’s CEO charged more than $240,000 to the organization’s ad agency for travel expenses and that LaPierre received suits costing more than $200,000 from an upscale clothing store in Beverly Hills, courtesy of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s longtime ad agency. [The Wall Street Journal]

11. Leadership Payouts—Wayne LaPierre wasn’t the only NRA executive benefiting from large payouts from the organization. About one-quarter of the NRA board, a body supposed to be unpaid, collected money from the group through various contracts and agreements that have little to do with the NRA’s core mission. [The Washington Post]

12. Frozen Pensions—Meanwhile employees at the NRA got the short end of the stick. Compared to the seven-figure salary of Wayne LaPierre, rank-and-file staffers have been paid below market rate and had their pensions frozen in 2018. [NPR]

13. Questionable Transactions—The egregious spending doesn’t stop there. In July 2018, NRA accountants put together a document detailing issues that needed to be addressed by the association’s audit committee. The main culprit? Questionable transactions involving top NRA vendors and executives. [The New Yorker]

14. Lawsuits Abound—The Attorney General of New York investigated potential violations of law related to charitable institutions. To keep its finances steady, the NRA increasingly relied on cash infusions and other transactions from its foundation. Since 2010, at least $206 million was transferred. [The New York Times]

15. Funneling to Charities—The NRA’s charity foundation made undisclosed donations to a Northern Virginia organization called Youth for Tomorrow, of which Wayne LaPierre’s wife is a former president and current board member, raising questions about the group’s failure to disclose the donations and possible conflicts of interest. [The New Yorker]

16. Taking the R out of NRA—Despite the fact that the NRA is an organization founded on the values of responsible gun ownership, the NRA’s financial woes have forced it to cut funds for gun training. From 2017 to 2018, allocations for safety and marksmanship dropped from $42.6 million to $32.7 million. [The Washington Post]

17. NRA Says Woe Is Me—A lawsuit the NRA filed against the State of New York has come attached with a heavy price tag. In a fund-raising letter sent to members, LaPierre warned that efforts by New York insurance regulators that stopped the NRA from illegally selling insurance could shut down the group “very soon.” In court filings, the NRA claimed to have “suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages” as a result of the insurance regulators’ enforcement actions. [The Daily Beast]

18. D.C. AG Follows New York’s Suit—It was recently reported that the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia issued subpoenas to the NRA to determine if the group violated D.C.’s nonprofit act. With the group spending $24 million last year in legal fees, and ending 2018 $10.8 million in the red, it’s not clear if the organization’s financial troubles will let up any time soon. [The Washington Post]

19. Hiding in His Mansion—Recent reporting revealed that Wayne LaPierre feared for his life after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. His solution to stay safe involved having the NRA buy him a $6 million Dallas mansion, with Ackerman McQueen assisting in facilitating the transition and maintaining the property after closing. Had the deal gone through, the organization would have been a 99 percent owner of the property. [The Wall Street Journal]

20. Wayne LaPierre Flies ConAir—While most nonprofit executives fly commercial, for years Wayne LaPierre employed a California travel agent to book his private flights. Through a complicated financial web of retainer payments and Ackerman McQueen reimbursements, Gayle Sanford, an unregistered travel agent who was accused in a 2009 lawsuit of defrauding small-business owners out of money, arranged travel for Mr. LaPierre, as well as his wife and niece. [The Wall Street Journal]

21. NRA’s Accountants Work Hard—But Letitia James works harder. New York Attorney General James continues to root out the secrets in the NRA’s cabinets. In a newly issued subpoena, the AG is examining at least four dubious practices of the group, involving campaign finance, payments made to board members, and tax compliance. Tax experts raised concerns based on the NRA’s recent tax filings showing the diversion of $36 million from the NRA Foundation into the NRA. The recent subpoena is giving a hint as to where the eight-month investigation might be headed. [The New York Times]

22. Leadership Infighting—Inflammatory NRATV—Last year, the NRA named Oliver North as the new president of the organization. North’s appointment came two years after the debut of NRATV, created by Ackerman McQueen, the ad firm that has worked with the NRA for more than forty years. The new channel began to worry longtime NRA allies and employees with its increasingly inflammatory rhetoric—including depictions of Thomas the Tank Engine, the children’s cartoon character, in a Ku Klux Klan hood. [The New York Times]

23. Oliver North Stages Another Coup—North used his position as president, typically a ceremonial role, to align himself with Ackerman McQueen. North was paid millions of dollars to work for the firm. In an attempt to oust LaPierre, North accused the NRA CEO of mishandling NRA funds and threatened to go to the board with incriminating information. [HuffPost]

24. LaPierre Fires Back—LaPierre reacted to North’s coup attempt by writing a letter to the NRA’s board informing them of North’s effort to remove him as chief executive of the association. He accused North of being more loyal to Ackerman McQueen than the NRA, suggesting the extortion attempt was a form of payback for the lawsuit the NRA filed against them. [Rolling Stone]

25. LaPierre Prevails—LaPierre won the power struggle and Oliver North resigned as president. In a letter read at the NRA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, North said he believed the NRA should establish a committee to review the group’s finances, which constitute a “clear crisis” that “needs to be dealt with.” [The Washington Post]

26. NRA Adds Insult to Injury—And the NRA still isn’t done with North. They filed a lawsuit in New York against North over the failed takeover and his secret fiduciary relationship with Ackerman McQueen, stating, “simply put, the NRA exists to fight for the Second Amendment—not pay other people’s bills.” [Courthouse News]

27. Chris Cox Out—Longtime NRA lobbyist Chris Cox didn’t escape the infighting unscathed. The NRA forced Cox out after ending its relationship with Ackerman McQueen. It turns out Cox picked the losing side in the power struggle. He resigned from his post when a lawsuit against Oliver North revealed that Cox participated in the attempt to oust LaPierre. [The New York Times]

28. LaPierre Quashes Dissent—Three NRA board members recently decided enough was enough. Fed up with mismanagement and negligence the trio sent a letter to NRA officials declaring their confidence in the organization’s leadership shattered. Their reward? On August 2, 2019, each was stripped of their committee positions. [The Washington Post]

29. Jumping Ship—Former Oklahoma Congressman Dan Boren resigned his seat on the NRA board of directors. Boren, who has been implicated in a number of lawsuits, is the latest victim to fall in the ongoing battle between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen, and was the eighth board member to resign. [Newsweek]

30. The Gravy Train Derails—Fed up with mismanagement among NRA leadership, legacy donors are scaling back their pledges. Donors like Joe Olson, who committed to giving millions from his estate to the gun lobby, are pulling their contributions as news of scandals inside the organization continue to pile up. [Associated Press]

31. Leadership Jumps Ship—An analysis by The Trace found that since April 2019, twenty-one people part of the NRA’s leadership—executives, board members, attorneys, and other staff—have left the organization. [The Trace]

32. NRA v. Ackerman McQueen—Charity?—After The Trace and the New Yorker reported on the lavish spending habits of NRA executives, the Attorney General of New York, where the NRA is chartered, launched an investigation into the group’s tax exempt status (see supra 9. Financial Woes). [CNN]

33. Ackerman McQueen Plays Hardball—The investigation led the NRA to ask for the financial records of its contractors, including Ackerman McQueen. According to the NRA, the firm refused to turn over financial documents. The NRA sued Ackerman McQueen, accusing the firm of concealing details of how it uses the $40 million it receives annually from the NRA. [The New York Times]

34. NRA Tries to Save Face—After Ackerman McQueen-linked NRA President Oliver North attempted a coup within the NRA and allegedly attempted to extort Wayne LaPierre (see supra 22. Leadership Infighting), the NRA filed a separate lawsuit, claiming the advertising firm worked “to tarnish and ultimately destroy the public image of the NRA and its senior leadership.” [The Daily Beast]

35. You Sue, I Sue—Ackerman McQueen countersued the NRA for $50 million. The firm claimed it had already given the NRA sufficient access to its financial records and that the NRA only brought the initial lawsuit in order to find cause to terminate its contract with Ackerman McQueen. [The Daily Beast]

36. Off the Air—In June, the NRA cleaned house, ending its relationship with Ackerman McQueen and shutting down NRATV, thus ending the contract of NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch. [The New York Times]

It might take years to sort out the legal, political, and cultural debates that engulfed the NRA in 2019. Until resolved, watching the upending of an organization originally founded to promote sport shooting shift gears to promote the gun industry is a sad state of affairs over almost 160 years. It is as ironic as burning down a fire station. Its nineteenth-century founders no doubt assumed the chief executive would keep their building safe. He didn’t.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association.

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republican_Army.

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_Foundation.

[5] Ibid.

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Owners_of_America.

[7] Ibid.

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Legislative_Exchange_Council.

[9] Ibid.

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association.

[11] Ibid.

[12] A Brief History of NRA.” National Rifle Association HQ. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.

[13] “FORTUNE Releases Annual Survey of Most Powerful Lobbying Organizations” (Press release). Time Weaver . November 15, 1999. Retrieved November 21, 2010. See also, Wilson, James Q. et al. (2011). American Government: Institutions & Policies. Cengage Learning. p. 264. ISBN 978-0495802815.

[14] https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa.

[15] https://www.amazon.com/NRA-Unauthorized-History-Frank-Smyth/dp/1250210283.

[16] Robert Draper, “A Shot in the Dark—An Outsider Tells the Inside Story of the N.R.A.” New York Times, Sunday May 17, 2020, NYTimes Book Review, page 15.

[17] Ibid.

[18] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nra-tax-exempt-non-profit/.

[19] Ibid.

[20] https://www.csgv.org/.

[21] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nra-tax-exempt-non-profit/.

[20] https://www.csgv.org/.

[22] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North.

[23] Shesgreen, Deirdre (May 7, 2018). “Oliver North poised to become next National Rifle Association president”. USA TODAY.

[24] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North.

[25] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oliver-north-in-court-filing-says-nra-is-smearing-him-to-avoid-scrutiny-2019-07-11.

[26] https://www.npr.org/2020/04/21/839999178/secret-recording-reveals-nras-legal-troubles-have-cost-the-organization-100-mill

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] https://lawcenter.giffords.org/.

[32] See, March 3, 2020 Update. https://giffords.org/blog/2019/12/nra-in-disarray-what-you-need-to-know-blog/.

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