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Tell-All NRA Book Confirms Everytown Beat NRA on its Top Priority After Trump was Elected

September 15, 2020

The Book, Written By Former NRA #2 Josh Powell, Says that He Told the Trump White House in 2017 that “We Need [Concealed Carry Reciprocity]… That’s Our Legislative Priority”

The NRA Failed to Pass Concealed Carry Reciprocity Despite Having a Republican Majority in Both Chambers of Congress, Largely Due to Moms Demand Action Volunteers Taking Over 500,000 Advocacy Actions Across the Country

NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements today after it was revealed in a new tell-all book that the NRA asked for the White House to pass its top legislative priority, concealed carry reciprocity, in 2017. The book, written by the former NRA executive Josh Powell, details how then-White House Advisor Steve Bannon asked Powell “What do I need to do for you guys?” after the NRA spent more money to elect President Donald Trump than any other outside spender. Powell replied, “we need national reciprocity. Honestly, that’s our legislative priority.” 

Despite having a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress from 2017 to 2019, the NRA has failed to pass concealed carry reciprocity during Donald Trump’s presidency, due in large part to the activism by Moms Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors. The story of Everytown and Moms Demand Action’s efforts to defeat this dangerous priority is detailed below. 

“Past is prologue, and the fact that the NRA couldn’t pass its top priority when its loyalists ran both houses of Congress and the White House speaks volumes about their dwindling political capital.” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The NRA lost back then because it couldn’t match the organizing muscle of Everytown and Moms Demand Action, and in the years since we’ve only gotten stronger.” 

“After the 2016 election, the NRA had Donald Trump in the White House and allies running both chambers of Congress –– but it still couldn’t beat Moms Demand Action,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “I’d like to offer them my thoughts and prayers as we prepare to outspend, outwork, and outvote them once again this November.”

“In 2017, the NRA thought it was an unstoppable force with its allies in control of Congress and the White House, but it ran into the immovable object of Everytown and Moms Demand Action and was left empty handed,” said Rob Wilcox, deputy director of Policy and Strategy at Everytown for Gun Safety. “The NRA still hasn’t recovered from this loss, and this November, we’re going to hand them another one.” 

The failed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 was a dangerous, NRA-backed policy that would have gutted every state’s gun laws and made our communities less safe. Right now, every state sets its own rules for who can carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public. Concealed carry reciprocity would have upended these laws, forcing every state to accept the concealed carry standards of the states with the weakest laws (including states that allow concealed carry without a permit), effectively turning the weakest link into the law of the land.

Starting in December 2016, Moms Demand Action volunteers across the country set out to defeat concealed carry reciprocity. By making over 50,000 phone calls, collecting and delivering hundreds of thousands of postcards, attending town hall meetings, meeting hundreds of times with their elected officials, and more, Moms Demand Action volunteers used their grassroots strength to defeat these dangerous priorities. Everytown also launched a six-figure ad campaign to defeat the bill, and –– all told –– Moms Demand Action volunteers took over 500,000 advocacy actions across the country.

When the House of Representatives voted for concealed carry reciprocity in December 2017, it ignored opposition from law enforcement, the public, the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors, attorneys general, and editorial boards across the country in order to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. However, a deeper dive into the House vote made clear that the bill was was doomed to failure in the Senate:

  • In 2011, concealed carry reciprocity (H.R. 822) passed the House by a 118-vote margin. When the House voted in 2017, with roughly the same partisan makeup, concealed carry reciprocity (H.R. 38) passed by just a 33-vote margin — a difference of 85 votes.
  • More than twice as many Republicans voted NO (14) than Democrats voted YES (6).
  • 18 House members who voted for concealed carry reciprocity in 2011 voted against it in 2017.
  • Shortly following the House vote, Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Warner (D-VA) all said that they would against concealed carry reciprocity, after previously voting for it in 2013.

Due to this lack of support, the bill never even received a vote in the Senate. Additional revelations from Powell’s book can be found here and here.

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