USA Today: GOA spending millions in Washington to influence gun laws
Gun rights advocacy organizations spent a record $15.8 million on lobbying last year, according to an analysis by Open Secrets, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks lobbying and campaign contributions. Since 1998, the industry has spent nearly $200 million on federal lobbying….
Gun Owners of America is a nonprofit lobbying organization founded in 1976 by California state Sen. Hubert Leon “Bill” Richardson. The organization, which bills itself as the “no compromise gun lobby,” spent $2,771,929 in total lobbying expenditures in 2021, according to Open Secrets.
GOA’s posted mission is to defend the Second Amendment. It formed a national network of attorneys working with lawmakers and citizens to keep gun ranges and gun clubs open.
In 2021, GOA sought to influence approximately 80 bills, including the ATF Accountability Act of 2021 and the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021.
Mentions of Biden’s “gun agenda” are found throughout GOA’s website. In early May, the lobby filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Homeland Security for information about the Biden administration’s planned Disinformation Governance Board, referred to as the “Ministry of Truth” on GOA’s website. The board’s formation was postponed, pending an internal investigation.
GOA released a national alert in the wake of the shooting in Uvalde.
“We mourn the innocent Texans who were murdered by a horrifically evil person,” Erich Pratt, GOA senior vice president, wrote. “Sadly, we have already seen significant politicization of this tragedy for political gain by those on the Left.”
Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs at Gun Owners of America, asserted in an interview Tuesday that the organization is “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington DC.”
“That means that we’re not going to stop fighting to defend the Second Amendment and to restore it to an uninfringed state, until all gun laws are repealed,” Johnston said.
He said “semi-automatic weapons are the best self-defense tools available right now.”
“The Second Amendment is about defending yourself from an attacker, be it a criminal, or a tyrannical government,” Johnston said. “And so Americans need to have the same weaponry as the military.”
He said no legislation would have prevented what happened in Uvalde, since a determined shooter would have found a way to get a weapon anyway, regardless of age limits or background checks or assault weapons bans.
“We will be working night and day to make sure that gun control doesn’t pass, that anti-gun politicians and groups are not able to abuse the deaths of children in order to pass an unrelated gun control agenda,” Johnston said.
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