How NRA Playbook Beat Expensive Gun-Control Ad Campaign: Political Power


Politico tells the story of how the National Rifle Association won the gun-policy battle in Congress: While New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Rep. Gabby Giffords took on gun reform with modern campaign tactics, spending millions on new groups, airing slick TV ads and tapping into social media, the gun lobby used its longstanding playbook: yield no ground in negotiations, focus on a few senators, galvanize 4 million NRA members with direct mail, and hold up the NRA scorecard as a threat ahead of the 2014 elections.

When the Senate voted down a bill to expand background checks Wednesday, it was a reminder that big money groups are no match for the NRA's “ability to get what it wants by playing retail politics — or delivering payback,” Politico says. “They knew the key targets, got the right people to talk to them… and the reality is no matter how much Obama said they lied, it's their political power,” said a lobbyist familiar with their effort. Said Obama: “It came down to politics the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.”

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