National Rifle Association (NRA) President David Keene admits that that the gun industry funds his organization with generous donations but would like to see even more cash pumped into pro-gun lobbying as opponents try to move forward with efforts to stop mass shootings.
“One of the big questions here is who does the NRA represent?” CNN host Candy Crowley told Keene on Sunday. “You do take millions of dollars from people who make guns and who make bullets, all perfectly legal. I’m sure they’re all fine folks.”
“Actually, Sandy [sic], we get less money from the industry than we’d like to get,” Keene interrupted. “But we get some. We get more than we used to.”
“You get millions of dollars from them,” Crowley insisted. “The criticism has been out there that you, that the NRA and some other gun-supporter groups gin up this, ‘They’re going to come take your guns away.’ Because what happens, those gun sales rise. And people go out, and you sort of frighten people into thinking your guns are going away… The accusation is that you are ginning up this conversation because it helps gun sales.”
“The two people who are selling so-called assault rifles are Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein and President [Barack] Obama, not us,” Keene replied. “They’re the ones that are scaring American gun owners. It isn’t the NRA.”
A 2011 report from the Violence Policy Center determined that 74 percent — or as much as $38.9 million — of the up to $52 million corporations had contributed to the NRA over six years had come from the firearms industry. During the 2012 election cycle alone, the NRA spent more that $17 million on presidential and congressional races.
And Keene suggested that all that money translated into the ability to block any efforts to ban assault weapons or high-capacity magazines.
“I think right now we do [have the votes in Congress],” the NRA president said. “I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress.”
Watch this video from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Jan. 13, 2013.