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Banning Assault Weapons

Washington, DC – -( You may recall that during a presidential debate in October, Hillary Clinton named the NRA as among her favorite enemies. Unable to leave well enough alone, she went on to declare, “It’s time the entire country stood up to the NRA.” What I find most striking about this brazen statement and the attitude it represents is . . .

just how out of touch Clinton is when it comes to the NRA, our membership and the tens of millions of Americans who support our work to protect and promote the Second Amendment. While her proclamation may have provided some political theater during a Democratic presidential debate, it’s clear she fails to grasp how important freedom is to the American people.

One way to measure where the public stands on a given issue is, of course, with polling. Polling has become the lifeblood of modern politics, and while the media can hyper-focus on polls at times, they can tell us a great deal about where the American people are, where they have been, and where they are likely to be on a given candidate or issue.

Recent polling illustrates that Clinton’s decision to incorporate anti-gun messaging and direct attacks on NRA is ill-advised if she wants to win the White House.

In fact, the numbers show that the American public will be standing with NRA this fall. There is a great deal of work to be done between now and then, but one thing is clear—the American people are on our side.

A Rasmussen poll from early December asked participants if they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “[t]he NRA supports gun policies that make all Americans safer.” To that, 61 percent agreed, with 35 percent indicating that they agreed strongly.

Interestingly, more who identified with Democrats agreed with the statement (46 percent) than disagreed with the statement (45 percent).

Clinton might believe that pandering to her liberal base by attacking the NRA is a smart gambit, but these numbers suggest she is treading in dangerous waters.

With today’s 24/7 media cycle, she won’t be able to backtrack when it comes time to appeal to Republicans and Independents during the general election. Even among Democrats, she is not with the majority.

These results are buttressed by October Gallup polling on whether participants had a favorable or unfavorable view of the NRA. In this poll, 58 percent of Americans had a favorable view of NRA, with the highest level of “very favorable” opinions (26 percent) since Gallup first asked this question in 1989. Even more troubling for Clinton and other anti-gun elites, 56 percent of political moderates had a favorable view of the NRA.

A clear majority of Americans holding a favorable view of the NRA is indeed good news, but it is more gratifying when one considers what the trend on this polling question shows.

When Gallup asked this question in 1995, a majority of Americans (51 percent) had an unfavorable view of the NRA, while only 42 percent held a favorable opinion. A 16-point flip over the last two decades is an incredible testament to the hard work and dedication of NRA members educating the public regarding who we are and what we stand for.

These poll results are even more striking given the negative attacks leveled at our organization during the last several months by President Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg, Clinton and other anti-gun elites who leverage vast media conglomerates to do their bidding.

That a majority of Americans are able to see through the propaganda shows how much the anti-gunners continue to underestimate the NRA and our value to the American people.

And speaking of trends, the results of an ABC/Washington Post poll conducted in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., are very instructive. Among other things, participants were asked if they favor an “assault weapon” ban.

Remarkably, support for such a ban has fallen to an all-time low, with a majority (53 percent) currently opposed. While 80 percent of the public favored the ban in 1994, only 45 percent support it today.

That 35-point shift is the result of a lot of hard work educating the public about what at one time was characterized as a “common-sense” measure to promote public safety. Today, such bans are more appropriately viewed by the American people with the skepticism they warrant.

All of this serves as a reminder of the enormous stakes in this election year. The American people are with us and our message. It’s now up to us to ensure our voices are heard at the ballot box.


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit:

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  1. Those lines on the graph represent a populace that went from ignorance to an understanding of “assault weapons” and what the Gun Control crowd was really up to. I see it almost weekly that public opinion on guns, the NRA, and “assault weapons” is changing from “OMG Guns are Bad!!!”, to “hey, I’d like to protect myself and my family, how do I learn about guns?”. I think the liberals/progressives are woefully misinterpreting the changing attitudes of Americans who better understand firearms and their role as tools not scary animate objects.

    Of course it doesn’t hurt that manufacturers have pumped millions of scary black rifles into the market after the AWB sunset….

  2. I have to wonder how much of the change in attitude on “assault weapons” is due to the efforts of the NRA v. other factors. For example there was no perceived threat of terrorism back in 1994. That has changed. As a result, an embracing of armed self defense seems like a natural response, and a rifle is the best tool for defense against the kinds of attacks we see becoming more common.

    I appreciate that the NRA is force to be reckoned with politically, but I’m not so sure about its effectiveness in the social sphere. They should be careful not to beat their chests too loudly where they may not actually deserve the credit. It would be a mistake for the NRA to rest on it’s laurels, especially where the laurels aren’t theirs.

    • I don’t think that this presser claimed that the attitude shift was solely due to the NRA’s efforts. Sea changes like the one illustrated above do not occur in a vacuum.

      So yes, the public is concerned about random acts of terror, which is leading them to tool up. But if terrorism was the only concern, the public would probably want “assault rifles” banned. Because damn few people are taking their ARs to work for defensive purposes.

  3. The American people are gradually waking up to the fact that gun rights matter.

    They will still very likely elect Hillary as the next President.

  4. While it’s nice the NRA is focusing on Hitlery, I think they might be forgetting about the Burn. Should that socialist asshat beat out Hitlery, I think he is more votable vs her to the average person. He’s less extreme and less easy to polarize voters away from him.

    The point is, show up on election day, and don’t vote democrat, no matter how much you might hate the Republican candidate.

    • Sanders is easily more beatable than Hillary. Sanders is an unabashed socialist eager to hand out massive freebies. That plays well with college kids and the Occupy crowd occupying their parents’ basements or at least dorm rooms on someone else’s dime. These are people who have no concept that the happy fun carefree times must ever come to an end or come with a bill. So they vote Sanders. In the general election, people who actually pay taxes, and are still stung by the last guy offering something for nothing, aren’t going to fall for that again.

      As for the GOP, I’ll vote for Hillary myself if Trump is the nominee. The GOP is more likely to stand up against Hillary’s lawlessness and statism, as a Democrat, that they would to Trump, as a (nominal) Republican.

      • So in other words: I hate this face so I’ll cut off my nose?

        Barry has set the standard that you can use the executive branch and it’s bureaucracies to cause serious harm to liberty and congress has done nothing to stop it.

    • Sanders is already defeated. Check the number of pledged suoerdelegates and you’ll see that the math just doesn’t work for Sanders. Right now, the delegate count is Sanders 71, Hillary 505. No typo. Those numbers are real.

      The deck is stacked for Hillary and always was. Sanders has no chance and never did.

  5. I hear you. I want to believe you but Clinton’s and Obama’s keep winning elections and defeating her only lets us begin to make this nation what we dream it should be. If we are the greatest country in the world let’s stop taking it in the ass.

  6. Well, if Hillary and the Democrats want to force the issue, I know which side of the line I’m standing on — and it’s as far away from their side as possible. If Hillary’s number one public enemy is the NRA, then I’m there.

    I just joined. I’ve been an NRA member for about 5 minutes now…feels pretty good so far.

  7. Shooters tend to be our own worst enemies when it comes to joining clubs and lobby groups. Here in Australia about 1 in 10 are in SSAA our version of NRA. When the gun laws came in it was about 1 in 30 as prior to gun laws no need to be in a club etc to own guns and when it was all changed it is hard to build a lobby group from almost nothing

    When I worked in Texas years back very few gun owners I met were in NRA. Overall USA it is I think about 1 in 20 shooters are members.
    From experience here it is better to support NRA than to not join over little things

  8. The NRA has 4-5 million members, but it’s estimated about 10x that many who are non-members generally support the NRA’s mission.

  9. I appreciate the pro-gun right organizations, but I just do not see their ads or presence in the mainstream media of TV, newspapers, or much in the popular websites at all. I think the NRA does work hard and do what they can, but I would almost say the shift in attitudes is almost more the idiotic rhetoric of the Bolsheviks and Communists in the United Soviet Socialist States government and the lamestream media. If you sit back and listen to Obonzo, Shannon, DiFi, Schumer, Yee, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, they all come across as the morons that they are. Hitlery is running on White Privilege and Gun Control, which may resonate with a minority, but a lot of people in the nation are white and do own guns.

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