In the weeks leading up to the November election, GOA relentlessly pounded Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun record -- publishing several YouTube videos, articles and Social Media posts that exposed her gun-grabbing agenda. GOA also educated millions of voters around the country, helping to elect many pro-gun Representatives and Senators in close elections.
One of GOA’s biggest victories of the year resulted from our activists’ massive lobbying effort to kill Obama’s anti-gun sentencing bill. His plan would have increased prison penalties for certain veterans with guns in the home and for semi-auto owners whose guns malfunctioned (firing in short bursts).
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke a decade-long tradition of silence by peppering questions at an anti-gun lawyer appearing before the Court. According to Mother Jones, his questions were based on the brief filed in that case by Gun Owners of America. And the anti-gun lawyer in the case, representing the Obama Administration, was reportedly “stumped.”
Media nationwide credited Gun Owners of America as being THE organization leading the fight to kill anti-gun terror legislation on Capitol Hill. GOA opposed every single “no fly, no buy” bill -- as such legislation revokes due process and denies Second Amendment rights to honest gun owners. GOA’s grassroots opposition prompted Senator Harry Reid to say that “Gun Owners of America is even worse than bad.”
GOA-backed legislation legalizing permitless carry passed in four states this year -- Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and West Virginia. These four states now bring the total number of Constitutional Carry states to twelve.
GOA’s grassroots deluged congressional desks with thousands upon thousands of emails and postcards in 2016, resulting in more than 150 Representatives and Senators cosponsoring Constitutional Carry reciprocity legislation. And with the election of Donald Trump, DC insiders believe prospects are good for passing reciprocity legislation in 2017.
The Truth About Guns awarded GOA Executive Director Erich Pratt with “Gun Hero of the Day” in January, after he forcefully articulated the pro-gun message during a feisty debate with an anti-gun CNN host. In June, this same CNN host invited Pratt back onto CNN for a rematch. But after the dust settled, media outlets said the CNN host was “embarrassed,” “schooled” or “crushed” during the debate.
In two of the states where Constitutional Carry passed this year, Gun Owners of America energized gun owners and legislators to override gubernatorial vetoes. The loud, collective voice of gun owners in West Virginia and Missouri overpowered Bloomberg’s money and his misrepresentations about permitless carry.
GOA lobbied Senators hard to oppose any justice nominated by Obama to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. A couple of Republican Senators initially favored holding hearings or a vote to place Obama’s anti-gun nominee, Merrick Garland, on the Court. But that was until GOA launched a grassroots “blitzkrieg” into these Senators’ states. Having heard from their pro-gun constituents, these Senators withdrew their prior support.
GOA fights against any and all infringements of the Second Amendment. This November, GOA rallied gun owners in Maine to oppose Universal Background Registration Checks on Election Day. The ballot measure, which was backed by millions of Bloomberg dollars, lost handily at the polls.
Political Friends & Foes speak to GOA’s influence last year
1. Refusing to compromise while defending the Second Amendment
“Gun Owners of America ... has taken a hard line against any new gun controls.” -- Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2013
“Gun Owners of America ... doesn't have the cash or the membership the NRA does, but its no-compromise stance keeps pressure on the NRA.” -- National Public Radio, December 26, 2013
2. Mobilizing grassroots activists and flooding Capitol Hill
“Back in April [when gun control was defeated in the Senate], Gun Owners of America showed with one email alert that it could help flood the phone lines on Capitol Hill days before the Senate vote.” -- National Public Radio, December 26, 2013
3. Defeating the Bloomberg anti-gun agenda despite being massively outspent
“Gun control groups [like Bloomberg’s MAIG] outspent groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) at a rate of 7 to 1.... Yet even after this huge disparity in spending, White House efforts to strengthen gun control laws went nowhere.” -- Breitbart, December 12, 2013
4. Being credited as THE GROUP that defeated gun control in 2013
“Democrats Blame ‘Gun Owners of America’ for Gun Control Setback.” -- TPM, April 8, 2013
“According to conservative staffers, Gun Owners of America was the most active outside group in early efforts to block all gun control efforts.” -- The Examiner, April 28, 2013
5. Frustrating the Democrats’ anti-gun agenda
“[Gun Owners of America] has complicated efforts to reach a solution on gun control legislation, top Democrats have said.” -- TPM, April 8, 2013
6. Reminding Republicans that their constituents are pro-gun
“The group [GOA] has already been successful in both freezing senators, particularly Republicans, who have appeared to be on the fence about supporting bills to expand background checks.” -- New York Times, April 3, 2013
“When Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, backed away from bipartisan talks to expand background checks earlier this year, he did so after Gun Owners of America and its members flooded the senator's office with e-mails and phone calls.” -- Slate, April 4, 2013
7. Getting under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s skin
“Whenever the NRA tries to be reasonable, the Gun Owners of America becomes more unreasonable and that pushes the NRA. [Now] you’ve got Gun Owners of America which is way to the -- I guess you would say the ‘right’ -- of what the NRA is. It makes it hard for the NRA to be reasonable.” -- Senator Harry Reid, April 6, 2013 on Nevada Public Radio
8. Emerging as an influential lobbying force
“While [GOA’s] bank account is relatively paltry ... its members often get Tea Party loud, inundating lawmakers’ offices with calls.” -- Slate, April 4, 2013
“Gun Owners of America, with its war chest, membership and lobbying strength dwarfed by the National Rifle Association, is emerging as an influential force ....” -- New York Times, April 4, 2013
9. Opposing the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
GOA has made it a goal to fight this anti-gun treaty -- both in Congress and in the court of public opinion. Said WorldNetDaily: “[GOA’s Larry Pratt] contends that the U.N. has a terrible track record in protecting human life ... [and] has no business deciding who should and should not have access to guns.”
When the Obama Administration signed this treaty last year, GOA sprang into action to circulate legislative language defunding any Obama effort to implement the ATT by executive fiat. Thankfully, a defunding amendment was inserted into an appropriations bill, and that language was recently signed into law.
10. Working to defang the anti-gun ObamaCare mandate
“Gun Owners of America has called upon members to resist signing up for ObamaCare, citing what they claim are provisions within the law that will be used to disarm gun owners.” -- BearingArms.com, November 4, 2013
11. Rallying grassroots to achieve stunning levels of support for CCW
“A conceal-carry amendment [pushed by GOA] received more votes, than the background check expansion [pushed by Senators Toomey and Manchin].” -- New York Times, April 18, 2013
12. Irritating liberal media like CNN’s Piers Morgan
Gun Owners of America made hundreds of media appearances last year on radio, Internet, newspaper and TV -- including several appearances on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. After GOA’s Larry Pratt manhandled Piers Morgan during their first meeting, the CNN host resorted to name-calling -- saying Pratt was an “idiot” and an “unbelievably stupid man.” Cliff Kincaid, who watches for media bias, said that Pratt calmly and rationally took “the arrogant British host completely apart” and debunked every “tired liberal claim” about gun control.
13. Defending the rights of gun owners in court
Gun Owners of America has been involved in several court cases -- including some before the U.S. Supreme Court. One notable case occurred last year when we came to the aid of a teenager in West Virginia who wore a pro-gun T-shirt to school. 14-year-old Jared Marcum was suspended from school -- and was later arrested for supposedly obstructing an officer. All charges were dropped after GOA came to his defense.
“I can’t thank Larry Pratt and Gun Owners enough for standing with Jared and his family during these difficult days,” said Ben White, who is the attorney for Jared Marcum. “You were there when we needed you.”