Anyone who thinks the National Rifle Association is a grassroots organization whose only concern is protecting the rights of U.S. citizens should think again. The NRA is a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Seventy-five percent of its funding comes from arms manufacturers and dealers.
Its biggest contributor last year was the Italian arms company Beretta.
Fifty years ago the NRA was an organization of hunters and sports shooters.
Today the weapons industry bankrolls the NRA in order to keep up demand for its products and clear away any obstacles to unrestricted purchase by as many people as possible.
Only 25 percent of the NRA's budget comes from small donors. Its patriotic, folksy all-American front is just its public image, which it pays Madison Avenue to maintain.
Its board of directors is dominated by weapons industry representatives. Its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, was paid almost a million dollars in 2012.
Although it claims to speak for ordinary people, only 4 percent of the nation's 90 million gun owners belong to the National Rifle Association.
The NRA spends tens of millions of dollars annually on political contributions and even more on lobbying. And it's not lobbying for freedom.
It's lobbying for its supporters, the weapons industry.
How, why and where Americans should exercise their Second Amendment rights is a legitimate debate. We should be able to have that debate free of the influence of those whose only interest is making money, regardless of the consequences.
Arno Vosk M.D.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom