In a new editorial headlined “How Trump Has Hurt the Gun Lobby,” the New York Times highlights how the politics of gun safety have shifted, exemplified by tomorrow’s House markup of legislation to require background checks on all gun sales just one day before the one-year mark of the Parkland mass shooting. The piece highlights many of the challenges facing the NRA, including its organizational financial health and revelations about its ties to the Kremlin, which reportedly continue to attract attention from federal and congressional investigators.
“It so happens that this Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will move to advance legislation requiring background checks on all firearm sales. The killer in the Parkland, Fla., school massacre passed such a check, but this measure would close a loophole exploited by other killers that exempts unlicensed gun sellers from conducting background checks. Support for such a change is overwhelmingly popular, even among gun owners. The bill has an excellent chance of passing the Democrat-led House.
“In 2017, the [NRA’s] revenues dropped by $55 million, or 15 percent, over its 2016 haul, driven largely by a decline in member dues. Combined with its heavy spending in the 2016 campaign, the group now finds itself in a deep financial hole, in debt to the tune of $31.8 million.
“The N.R.A. has suffered Trump-specific turmoil as well. As part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has been exploring possible ties between the N.R.A. and Russia. Among Mr. Mueller’s top concerns is reportedly whether Russian interests funneled money to the Trump campaign via the N.R.A. — and, if so, to what degree the group’s leaders may have known what was happening.
“In addition to Mr. Mueller’s interest in the N.R.A., there have been multiple congressional inquiries into a possible love triangle among the gun group, Team Trump and Russia.”