By Katie Cederborg and Rachel Owen
The National Rifle Association, created after the Civil War as a method of teaching young military men how to use rifles, was never meant to be so intertwined with the United States Government. In the simplest terms, the NRA has become an association meant to “protect” the way the organization defines the Second Amendment, largely due to the status quo.
With gun owners spreading the notion that their “right to bear arms” will be infringed with gun regulation, people across the country have brought the NRA to its full realm of power with wealth, as they understand that in our capitalist nation, money equals influence. Although this idea of the NRA having such extensive funds has been thrown around in the news since President Trump’s election in 2016, the truth of the matter is that this private, non government organization utilizes its money from wealthy donors to implement their version of “right” onto the government. The NRA takes power out of the hands of the people and proves our government to be more of an oligarchy than a constitutional republic.
By Alex Hays
The NRA controls politicians with their extensive budget, and therefore, power. As seen in Trump’s campaign, the NRA donates millions of dollars to ensure the victory of their chosen candidate. The NRA is using its money to control American politics as we know it. The truth of the matter is that capitalism in entrenched in our society, and therefore our government, which can be used to the advantage of political groups like the NRA.
The NRA uses manipulation in its most obvious form, yet the government chooses to turn a blind eye. With a stream of money from the NRA on a steady path toward President Trump and his aggressive, heavily right-leaning actions, it has become increasingly apparent that the NRA is treating the White House as a mechanism for “protecting the right to bear arms”: the clear secret code for protecting the gun industry.
Using its influence to preserve the gun industry, the NRA has not only expressed that it is a corrupt and insensitive association with their disturbing statement of simply providing more guns to protect the people in response to the Parkland, Florida shooting. The NRA has also used its influence largely gained by its extensive funds to actively push for a law prohibiting the Center of Disease Control, or the CDC, from doing any research on guns. This gives conservatives further reasoning to suggest that “mental illness” is the real problem, rather than the guns themselves. The preference of the gun industry over the lives of human beings, is clear, and therefore the government has failed to do their job to protect the lives of the people.
Despite all of this seemingly public corruption, the NRA has the audacity to call itself a “non profit,” meaning that the NRA receives tax exemptions from the International Revenue Service on income tax. By greedily calling itself a “non profit” the NRA is actually spending less money to corrupt the government. In order to qualify to be a non profit, an organization has to positively serve the community in some way like a hospital or a church. However, it’s hard to recall a time when the NRA actually provided a genuine public service that benefitted citizens outside the scope of gun owners and gun manufacturers.
Although the NRA is legally allowed to engage in political lobbying given its 501(c)(4) tax code, involvement in politics should not be the organization’s main activity. However, under the interpretive portion of this same tax code, the NRA has been found to hardly benefit the community and should, therefore, be stripped of its title as a tax-exempt organization. At this point, the NRA is more involved in political manipulation than it is in providing services to the public like actual non profit organizations. Utilizing this title to gain influence and, therefore, money, the NRA abuses their non profit title, giving the public the misguided illusion that it is an organization for the people and by the people, when in actuality it is greedily hunting down every dollar it can like most other businesses in the United States of America.
After decades of gun violence, the NRA, as well as the government, has yet to change federal gun policies. The time do so is now. After nationwide protests and several calls to action by millions of Americans, Congress needs to stop pushing the controversial topic of gun safety under the carpet for the next generation to deal with.
Enough is enough. It’s time the government does away with the weak justifications and finally decides to keep the NRA’s power in check. People shouldn’t have to die in order for the government to realize that it’s time for a change. If President Trump and the NRA were really in favor of the public, there wouldn’t be any more debate on gun regulations. There is no excuse for the death of millions of Americans, and for the NRA to sit on the sidelines and flex their expensive AR-15s is pure cowardice. Human beings cannot be expenditures of political power struggles.