The Judas Kiss

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NRA built massive database of gun owners while opposing national gun registry.

The National Rifle Association has frightened Americans about the prospect of a federal registry of firearm owners, but the NRA itself has secretly created a database with information from tens of millions of Americans who do not hold a membership.

The NRA has spent years secretly collecting information about gun  owners from state and local offices and has built the country’s  largest privately held database of current, former and  prospective gun owners, according to a BuzzFeed report.

News of the NRA’s database is particularly surprising, since the  pro-gun agency heavily protested the idea of a federal gun  registry after the Newtown massacre led to debates on increased  background checks. Even though 91 percent of Americans supported  universal background checks, lawmakers were unable to push such  an initiative through Congress. At the time, the NRA’s Wayne  LaPierre instilled a widespread fear that universal background  checks would lead to a national registry of gun owners, which  critics said could lead to taxes on guns or confiscation.

“That’s what [the feds] are after, the names of good, decent  people all over this country, who happen to own firearms to go  into a federal database or universal registration, every lawful  gun owner in America,” LaPierre said in a speech at the  Conservative Political Action Conference. “That’s their answer  to criminal violence… are they insane?”

But that’s exactly what the NRA has been doing for years. The  organization’s database includes personal information from people  who have attended gun-safety classes taught by NRA-certified  instructors or gun shows. The NRA also collected gun permit  information from state and county offices, as well as the names  of gun magazine subscribers.

Three million Americans are members of the NRA, but the database  has information from tens of millions of people, NRA lobbyist  Richard Feldman told BuzzFeed. NRA officials refused to share an  exact number or go into the detail about their data-collection  methods, but documents obtained by BuzzFeed indicate that the NRA  may have bribed state officials into turning over their lists.

In 2009, a firm called Preferred Communications asked the  Virginia State Police to purchase the names of concealed carry  permit holders “on behalf of the National Rifle  Association.”

“Can you please let me know if you offer 2008 and/or 2009  names?” the group’s representative wrote in a message.   “Can you please let me know the address to send the check to  and also whom to make it payable to?”

Officials in Arkansas, Oregon and Iowa also reported requests for  such lists.

The NRA’s database gives the organization the ability to contact  tens of millions of gun-owners to lobby their causes.

The data “gives the NRA more power,” Jon Bond, co-founder  of the ad firm Kirschenbaum Partners, told BuzzFeed, noting that  the NRA has an advantage over anti-gun groups. “It’s valuable  politically because what it does is, it extends the reach of its  political leverage beyond NRA members. They have gun owners, not  just NRA members. There’s multiple purposes for it.”

With a national gun database containing names and addresses, the  NRA has the power to target certain markets and influence  Americans to support them. But even if the NRA only uses its  database for marketing or advertising purposes, their secret  creation of a registry they long stood up against might prove  difficult to defend.

Reuters / Adrees Latif

2 thoughts on “The Judas Kiss

  1. Lots of folks don’t join the NRA because they don’t want to be “on a list”. I’ll bet they never suspected they’d be on the NRA’s list whether they joined, or not.

  2. We’re ALL on lists somewhere. This doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is blatant controlled opposition and how people cannot see it while willingly pay for it. Our founding fathers didn’t negotiate with the British, they shot them. They didn’t need someone to talk to the King for them in order to help delay or stop the imposition of tyrannical laws. I get spammed by the NRA at least three times a day via email and at least twice a week via postal carrier. They are a very pressing bunch when it comes to donations and such. I’ve never donated anything to them except requests to be removed from mailing and email lists. Still haven’t gotten them to stop contacting me yet.

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