The NRA Ducks and Covers

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 18 2012 9:17 AM

The NRA Ducks and Covers

My new piece explains how the NRA endures the backlash from gun massacres. First step: Refusing to comment, with a statement that barely changes from tragedy to tragedy. Second step: Once the outrage fades, telling members and sympathetic conservatives that, yes, the government is going to use the next tragedy to try and confiscate their guns.

I was intrigued by this Gawker piece about the gun-making industry; it argues that activists need to stop yelling about the NRA and start shaming the companies that make weapons. But the "don't focus on the NRA" component is a little pat, because gun manufacturers give millions of dollars to the NRA, they have more money when people panic and buy more guns, and the NRA itself offers services to new gun-owners. You don't need to "demonize" the NRA to appreciate their media strategy -- stoke panic (insist, for example, that "Fast and Furious" might have been a plot to gin up support for gun control), then denounce "politics" in the wake of tragedies.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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