This is exactly why it’s so important for the NRA to clean its own house. As we’ve said dozens of times, the protection and expansion of responsible firearms ownership in this country is served by a healthy, well-run, effective National Rifle Association.
The NRA’s status in American politics has seemed in doubt amid multimillion-dollar shortfalls in the organization’s budget, an ongoing investigation into its tax-exempt status by New York’s attorney general and allegations that the group has been manipulated by Russian influence-peddlers. Earlier this year its president, Oliver North, was forced out of office in a leadership tussle with chief executive Wayne LaPierre.
But this week’s events in Richmond showed that the organization continues to wield significant influence at the grass-roots level. Its legions of members – the group does not release figures but said it has “hundreds of thousands” in Virginia – are reliable voters who show up even during off-year elections.
Backed by those foot soldiers, NRA officials enjoy access to top politicians. Virginia GOP leaders spent weeks before the special session in frequent communication with NRA experts, who provided guidance and research on how gun-control measures had fared in other states, according to several people familiar with the interactions.
While Democrats were stunned by the way the GOP leadership shut down the special legislative session, the NRA knew about the move ahead of some rank-and-file Republicans.
– Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella in The NRA is in turmoil. But in Virginia gun debate this week, the group flexed its muscles.