“Top officials from the National Rifle Association, whose annual meeting Friday featured an address by Trump for the third time in three years, traveled to Moscow [in December 2015] to visit a Russian gun manufacturer and meet government officials,” washingtonpost.com reports.

The Post’s article Guns and religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia suggests that the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation influenced the President’s views on Russia. Like this . . .

At least one connection came about thanks to a conservative Nashville lawyer named G. Kline Preston IV, who had done business in Russia for years.

Preston said that in 2011 he introduced David Keene, then the NRA’s president, to a Russian senator, Alexander Torshin, a member of Putin’s party who later became a top official at the Russian central bank. Keene had been a stalwart on the right, a past chairman of the American Conservative Union who was the NRA’s president from 2011 to 2013.

The Post also reports that the Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottleib participated in the Russian pro-gun charm offensive.

In Russia, Torshin and an aide, a photogenic activist originally from Siberia named Maria Butina (above), began building a gun rights movement.

Butina founded a group called the Right to Bear Arms, and in 2013 she and Torshin invited Keene and other U.S. gun advocates to its annual meeting in Moscow.

The event, where about 200 people gathered at Moscow’s convention center, included a fashion show in which models donned “concealed carry” garments with built-in pockets for weapons.

One American participant, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, recalled that Torshin and Butina took him and his wife out for dinner and gave them gifts that displayed research into their interests — exotic fabric for Gottlieb’s wife, a needlepoint enthusiast, and for Gottlieb, commemorative stamps that Torshin received as a member of the Russian legislature.

“They wanted to keep communications open and form friendships,” Gottlieb said.

Ms. Butina denies the implication that she was a tool of the Russian government seeking to curry pro-Putin influence. But that doesn’t stop The Post from trying to connect the dots.

Butina, now a graduate student at American University in Washington, told The Post via email that her group’s cause is “not very popular” with Russian officials and has never received funding from the government or from the NRA. She said she has never worked for the government and added that she and the American activists she has befriended simply share a love of gun rights.

“No government official has EVER approached me about ‘fostering ties’ with any Americans,” she wrote.

[Retired CIA officer Steven L. Hall] said he was skeptical. He said he did not think Putin would tolerate a legitimate effort to advocate for an armed citizenry, and asserted that the movement is probably “controlled by the security services” to woo the American right.

Also attending the Moscow junket: NRA spokesman Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. An event that featured a prominent Russian politician.

The group toured a gun manufacturing company and met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who was among the officials sanctioned by the White House following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Keene told the Daily Beast, which first reported the meeting, that the interaction with Rogozin was “non-political” and consisted of touring the headquarters of a shooting group that Rogozin chairs.

The Post goes on to detail Ms. Butina’s lobbying efforts in the U.S. prior to the Trump election.

Reading between the lines, considering The Post’s headline, the anti-gun news org is implying that the Russians “got to Trump” via the NRA, as part of a wider effort to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Is there anything wrong with the NRA and SAF establishing ties with pro-gun rights Russians? In The Post’s world, yes. In the American gun rights community, doubtful. Your take?

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83 Responses to Washington Post: NRA SAF Russian Visits Tied to Trump Softening on Russia

    • My commute this morning was terrible. Damn Russians.

      No one had made the coffee yet. Damn Russians.

      Just add ‘Damn Russians’ to anything and you can speak like a progressive. 😉

      • Tried shooting at a target the other day funny how the 7.62x54r round out of my mosin veered off and hit the American flag downrange. Damn Russians.

        My older PC finally died. Damn Russians.

        Seen the perfect pic online. 2 dogs staring at the owner coming home, captioned,

        “We’re glad your home the Russians Pooped on the carpet.”

      • I support gay rights so I’m actually proud of both Putin and Trump, especially Putin. Gays have a tough time in Russia. Their love should be encouraged not patronized by self hating zealots. People like believing rumors without proof. But hey don’t feel bad. People believe in aliens, god, Hillary’s getting locked up it’s all fun. Say something enough people will believe anything.

        • My greatest wish which I have no idea whatsoever if it will every be granted by God is that I could go at least one day, just 24 hours, at some time in the rest of my life and not have to hear anything even remotely related to sexual deviants.

          I don’t care what you do with your body or any part of it. I just don’t want to hear about it any more as if you’re some sort of social hero for doing with your body parts what disgusts me.

          Don’t any of LGBT community members have any decency at all? I have the decency to NOT SAY A WORD IN PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT I DO WITH MY PRIVATES!!!!!!!!!! HOW ABOUT SOME RECIPROCAL CONSIDERATION??????????????????

      • Jeff, you’re an idiot. I don’t usually go straight to the ad hominem, but this Russia connection crap was false on its face from the get-go, and has been thoroughly disproved so many times I am not going to go to the trouble to assemble all the arguments again. There is no basis for the connection and the notion that Russia would prefer Trump to Hillary is ludicrous. Hillary, who actually did have dealings with the Russians (selling them 20% of our uranium, Bill getting 400m for a speech) would be Obama redux and he famously said “tell Putin I’ll have more flexibility [in disarmament negotiations, to give up our armaments] after the election.” A stone idiot.

      • Why do you care so much? What exactly do we stand to gain by constantly being at odds with Russia other than newspaper headlines?

        We can try instead being friends, and watch the country collapse internally when Putin runs out of places to distract his people with. Did you ever consider that one?

      • You can’t seriously believe that the Trump administration is “in bed with the Russians”. I think you have your presidents mixed up. It was Obama/Hillary with the reset button. It was Obama who ridiculed Romney’s contention that the Russians were a concern. It was Obama who got caught on a live microphone telling Putin’s representative that he would have more flexibility after the election.

        Trump is rebuilding the military, making missile strikes on Russian ally Syria, Trump’s UN ambassador is blistering Russia as a bad actor, and Trump’s defense secretary is accusing Russia of arming the Taliban. We’re in a new cold war with Russia. Kool Aid, indeed.

    • So, international travel to who knows where is now a symptom of treason. Great. I’ve traveled to every continent on earth but for Antarctica. I must be super-seditious, huh?

      But that hardly squares with the fact that when I traveled to those far-flung places I WAS IN THE UNIFORM OF A U.S. MARINE INFANTRY OFFICER!!!!!!!!!!!

      I too am completely sick of the Democrats Russians-ate-my-homework. It’s complete B.S.

      Hillary lost the race for the presidency TWICE simply because she is Hillary. She didn’t need any help to lose from Wikileaks, the Russians, the hated Persians, North Korea, the little cafe in Santa Cruz which serves slurpies or any damned body else. She lost because she’s easily the most vile, alien human on planet earth and perhaps throughout the universe.

      LF

      • Michael Flynn was a general and he got the boot, you being a Marine doesn’t exempt you from being a traitor.

      • To be fair, Flynn was an incompetent Democrat asshat getting his gravy on the side from shady business deals conducted with shadier guys wearing Adidas track suits, and conveniently failed to report a lot of it like you’re supposed to. Bannon had an oddly frequent line of previous business over there for such a Pro-American Nationalist Hero journalist. Manafort was just as bad, only dealing with openly criminal guys from Ukraine to Turkey. So was Podesta and like three other Hillary goons that we know about. Same with Obama and the *extremely* weirdly high number of people around him with even tenuous ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Iran.

        I hope I’m not the only guy who’s rather suspicious that our new president, himself with past ties to the Clintons, has now surrounded himself with people who were/are apparently up to the same kinds of sleazy business with the same people in the same places as the Clintons. It’s not so much that Trump of the Clintons are better than the other, it’s more like “why the hell are so many of our highest leaders with access to launch codes so chummy with foreigners?” Most of these guys couldn’t truthfully fill out the paperwork for a security clearance (i.e. foreign contacts & acquaintances as well as foreign financial interests) because of the obvious criminal implications, yet we trust them to run the government.

    • The Dems are seriously starting to sound like Iranians & death to America at this point; the ‘Russians’ thing is almost becoming a reflexive placeholder refrain for when their mouth outruns their brain for a minute.

      “I believe Mr. Trump is wrong on this, uh, umm –Russians! That is to say, we cannot stand idly by while, er, Russians, poisons our nations’s precious youth with such….der, Russian negative influences!”

  1. Softening on Russia? Do they mean when we bombed Syria? Or do they mean when our secretary of state said that the relationship between Russia and the United States was at its worst point in modern history?
    The exact opposite has happened. President Trump has been far more critical of Russia than candidate Trump.

    • If Putin did try to influence Trump, then he should get refunds from whoever he hired, because it really didn’t take.

      The fact is, Trump said nice things about Putin because he likes “tough guys”. Trump has said nice things about Kim Jong-un, for crying out loud. It’s just something he does. It’s not a great thing for a President to do, but it’s not a hugely meaningful thing for Trump, personally.

  2. I don’t see why we as a movement shouldn’t reach out to our Russian counterparts. The right to bear arms is a natural extension of the right to self-preservation, which every human is born with. Gun rights = human rights.

    • The left is afraid the Russians are leaving Marxism in the rear view window and that threatens their dream of a globalist society based on Marxist philosophy. Very simple really. We need to have good relations with Russia and toss the old stereo types out the window. Cold war only helps the globalist and destroys the nationalist patriot movement. Semper Fi.

        • Right. And the Democrats/progressives/leftists seem to be trying to resurrect it.

          Either that or a lot of geriatric politicians and media catamites are mentally stuck in the glory days of the Cold War, when no Republican would be seen within a hundred miles of the old USSR and Democrats took vacations and honeymoons to Cuba and the Soviet Union when no one was looking.

          Looks to me like they’re trying to scare the American populace back into the old order.

        • I’m guessing you know nothing about the USSR, communism or socialism at all. Do you?

      • LOL, the Russians were never Marxist; to paraphrase Erdogan, they merely saw that movement as a train they could ride into absolute power as the Tsar’s house collapsed. Under the Tsar, an incompetent bureaucracy misallocated resources in a control economy to everyone’s detriment & it’s own benefit while murdering the opposition in the name of The Mythical Divine Right; under Communism, an incompetent bureaucracy misallocated resources in a control economy to everyone’s detriment & it’s own benefit while murdering the opposition in the name of The Mythical Proletariat.

        If Putin lives long enough, it’ll be the same in the name of The Mythical Bear-Riding Bald Guy (Who’s 6 Feet Tall)

  3. I do recall that on multiple occasions the obama administration sponsored organizational support to overseas political campaigns that they favored, sometimes to the great consternation of friendly governments. But that was okay…?

  4. i am really having a hard time connecting the dots in the Dem’s latest Trump/Russia hallucination. maybe this is a sign the disgruntled disciples of Felonia Von Pantsuit are running out of gas.

    • Felonia von Pantsuit — I love that. You’ve been reading Kurt Schlichter’s columns at Townhall, haven’t you. 🙂

      • Srsly. Someone better screencap dat, because it will be removed after the 50th angry (for once, justifiably) comment.

    • Apparently a woman advocating for a conservative position is only good for one thing, according to the left.

    • Attractive conservative women make liberal men & women question their moral compass, and that makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s really stupid, but it’s the truth (and it’s true for conservatives, too). That’s why conservatives still value Hollywood morons’ opinions enough to complain about them.

      “Dad, why do there have to be beautiful people”
      “Well son, it’s so the people who aren’t beautiful will know who to follow”

  5. The Washington Post is really grasping at straws here. Are they really trying to link stuff that happened years ago while Obama was President, most of which happened before the annexation of Crimea and the resulting sanctions, as the NRA and SAF trying to influence President Trump’s views on Russia?

    • Trump Derangement Syndrome… Its a serious medical condition for progtards; and the prognosis is terminal….

      • Nah, the derangement was just a fixed obsession in pursuit of a stated goal; this is something beyond that, bordering on actual paranoid delusion

  6. So let me get this straight: organisations that are friendly with the Russian government are fronts for Putin, organizations that the Russian government doesn’t like must be secretly administered by Russian intelligence, and thus are also fronts for Putin. Did I get that right?

    Anybody who runs is a VC…

  7. Give me my damn 7n6 back and who cares what the commies think. They will blame Russia no matter what happens.

  8. Good lord, liberals these days. They used to worship the Soviet Union. Now they’re like Macarthy level paranoid of Russia. Hey, liberals, you know what I heard? Did your coffee taste funny this morning? You know what that was? KGB agents poured mind controlling ChemTrails into your Starbucks while you were sleeping.

  9. Why, if we are sanctioning the Russians for their illegal invasion of Ukraine and their war crimes in Syria…are we allowing them to sell ammo in this country? That’s bizarre. If there was one industry I wouldn’t want to be healthy it would be the Russian armaments industry.

    The pro-2a crowd should not get it twisted. Russia is not your friend.

    • Tovarishch! We are merely meeting the needs, yes? If we stop sending our bullets tens of thousands of Americans gun owners would be, how you say, ‘hurt in the butt’. No they pay much more for silly yellow bullets and this takes food away from their fat children.

      No, no, no. We are, doing the service, yes?

      • This

        Same with the Chinese ban.

        Now instead of them selling that ammo to us they now sell (better yet give) it to our enemies. I would rather live pragmatically shooting it then have it shot at me.

        • Plus, if we’re buying it from them, they have additional incentive to, you know, *not* shoot their best customer…

  10. Couldnt work Trump’s tax returns in there somehow WaPo?
    I wonder if there are more pointless conspiracy dead horse beaters on the left now with Trump in than there were on the right with Obama in.

    • This is very near Pizza Gate levels of what-the-eff, to be sure –they’re not quite there yet, though.

  11. If only the press had put 5% of this effort into investigating Obama and Clinton’s activities. Sigh…

  12. But they can’t find the server in Hillary’s bathroom, even when Huma sent daily emails through it. How about DeBlasio turning a blind eye to the alleged (torture-kills?) dead bodies hauled out of the Russian Consulate in NYC, yearly? [ 9 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128]
    Anh, maybe I’m wrong. What does it matter.

  13. Maybe it’s better if WaPo and friends don’t know just how much Russian companies are involved in supplying arms to American civilians. Easily half of my not-inconsiderable-stash of ammo was sourced there.

    I won’t tell if you don’t.

  14. Actual working relationships between the NRA and the Russians are unproven.

    However, actual pay and play between the Clintons and the Russians are proven.

  15. Russians is fast becoming the new racism. If the Progressives don’t like a politician / organization / anything else, they accuse them of being tied to Russia.

    Frankly, I don’t see why the NRA shouldn’t establish ties with other gun rights organizations. There is nothing wrong with associating with people with common interests.

    • You’re dense and clearly not in touch with reality if you don’t see the proven Russian connections to the White House, or see the issue with it at all. Makes you pretty un-American and pretty pro Russia, eh?

      • Besides Flyn that isn’t part of the White House please share the proof that this White House is closer to a foreign country than past White Houses. That this closeness is being used to subvert our foreign policy.

        • You do know Flynn and Page were both in contact with Russia, enough so that they both got scared and page registered as a foreign agent? Right? Do you know there is a current, ongoing goddamn investigation? Yeah?

          Why don’t you go harp on Benghazi or fake birth certificates, but totally ignore some actual malfeasance. Righty-O!

  16. oh for F&%ks sake!

    Those pussies are so wound up that if Trump gave his granddaughter a teddy bear for her birthday, it would be some secret nod to Putin that the future children of the US belong to Russia….

  17. Self defense is a human right. Meeting to discuss human rights is a good thing. If Dems went to Saudi Arabia to push for women’s rights even if Clinton Foundation received millions from that non-democratic country I would take it as a good thing. Women’s and human rights should be talked about with every country friends and foes.

  18. The argument fails on internal logic: the NRA was meeting with people whom Putin doesn’t like or approve of.

    /case

  19. Wait — what? Now it’s all Russia’s fault? I thought everything was George Bush’s fault.

    Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the Democrat’s scapegoats.

  20. If Trump met my Russian friend who emigrated here 15 years ago, WaPo would,conclude it as proof that this was the connection to Putin they were looking for. I’m no fan of Putin, but this has blown past absurdity.

  21. Um, if the NRA was important enough to be Trump’s fat pipe to Russia (talk about nonsensical bullcrap), I think Trump would be doing a whole hell of a lot more to earn their favor than he is. Like, maybe mention some friendly new policies for their members, or at least do something to make their board of directors more wealthy.

    Meanwhile, Hillary’s John Podesta was proven to be up to his armpits in all kinds of Slavic kick-back-ery that as yet goes unmentioned in the popular media…

  22. American communists are angry that Russia is capitalist now. Socialist russia was their proof that karl marx was right. Its all gone now. That is why they have changed and now hate Russia. The Russians are more of a capitalist country than we are. They have no capital gains tax. They have lower business taxes than we do. Larry Vickers did a series of shows from Russia. They were great.

    The three L’s new champion is the music group Pussy Riot because they invaded a Russian church during services. Putin publicly said everyone in Russia should have a gun. The communist Chinese will never say that.
    The SAF may do a better job at teaching freedom to russians than american diplomats. That is why the Post is so up set. The ideas of the Second Amendment being spread to russia!! Very scary to socialists here.

  23. This is the lazy left’s version of, “Thanks Obama!”. The anti-Russian screed is just background noise at this point. Hell even Hideous Hillary just gave an interview and used the mythic/mystical “Russians” as the reason she ISN’T president. Come on everyone, let’s all take a collective breath and laugh our jollies off at the sheer stupidity of that sentiment!
    1……2……..3…..

    AHAHAHhaahahhahahhAHahahahaHaHaHAhAhahahahahahahah 2020 is a “lock”.

  24. So, Preston&Co ass-kissing our local tsar for years (maybe expecting Le Pen-level cash?) is NEWS?

    Christ, those boys at Post are slow.

  25. https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/859787090258800640

    Orrin Hatch: POTUS just said that the hacking could have been China or…

    Comey: It was Russia.

    I know Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones have been telling you a lot of stories and those stories confirm your narrative that Trump is a responsible Republican. He isn’t. if you want to save 2A you had best figure out how to replace Trump in the White House before 2020

  26. This PROVES a Trump-Russia connection!
    I mean, is’s not like they “donated” millions to him is it?

  27. It isn’t like there wouldn’t be plenty of 7.62x39mm manufactured by US and friendly country producers if we did embargo Wolf and Barnaul. Put some teeth in the sanctions. Don’t let these Russian’s bearing gifts sway our system with their cash.

    Russia sanctions exist because of egregious violations of international law. James Comey just came on TV today to reiterate their meddling in our election.

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