Former gun lobbyist Richard Feldman is publicly taking a shot at the National Rifle Association, says the Washington Post. In a new book, “Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist,” Feldman accuses the NRA of being in business primarily to raise money for itself and its executives, and of using self-defeating scare tactics to keep its coffers full. “Financial blood-sucking” and “deceitful appeals” for cash, he writes, have sustained the organization financially but have undermined its ability to work with natural allies such as law enforcement officials and moderate Republicans and Democrats.
Feldman worked as a state-level lobbyist for the NRA and then in the 1990s, went on to represent the firearms industry as executive director of the American Shooting Sports Council. He charges the NRA with becoming a bomb-throwing, self-serving impediment to what he considers the legitimate right of gun ownership. In the mid-1990s, he was instrumental in persuading weapons manufacturers to place locks on handguns, at the request of the Clinton administration. When he failed to unite the industry to stop a deluge of lawsuits by cities against gunmakers, he was ousted from the American Shooting Sports Council — at the insistence, he says, of the NRA. Feldman says he had gotten too close to what the NRA thought of as “the enemy,” and that was unforgivable. The Post notes that Feldman’s critique is not new.