WASHINGTON -- Boy bands from the '90s, Oscar-winning actresses and the PTA are just some of the hundreds of individuals and organizations on the National Rifle Association's recently updated "National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies" list. As the nation's largest gun lobby assumes a leading role in the national debate over gun control, the list of individuals and groups, which was published by the NRA in September, underscores a persistent message the NRA sends to members: It's us against them.
"The following organizations have lent monetary, grassroots or some other type of direct support to anti-gun organizations," it says at the top of the list. "In many instances, these organizations lent their name in support of specific campaigns to pass anti-gun legislation … All have officially endorsed anti-gun positions."
The list is published by the gun lobby's political arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and while the list's purpose is not explained, it appears to be aimed at helping NRA members know which celebrities and companies they should boycott. The contents cover a wide swath of society, including churches and religious groups, singers like Madonna and Sting, and the Hallmark Cards company.
Here's a sample:
[CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE LIST.]
American Academy of Pediatrics
National Organization on Disability
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
YWCA of the USA
Boyz II Men
Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
Sara Lee Corp.
Stonyfield Farms Yogurt
Blue Cross Blue Shield - Kansas City
There are also dozens of newspaper columnists and media outlets in a separate section. These ended up on the list, it says, because they "have assisted in the attack on Second Amendment rights … portray firearms in a negative manner in an attempt to generate public support for restrictions on firearms ownership … [or] refused some or all of NRA's advertisements."
While the celebrities and companies on the list are accustomed to receiving attention from the media, another part of the list contains the names of private citizens, including clergy members, pediatricians, teachers, social workers, and current and retired federal judges. Given that these individuals don't offer NRA members a product to boycott, it is unclear why they are publicly listed. A spokesman for the NRA, which boasts more than four million members, declined to comment on the list.
The one group that's missing from the roster may be the one with the greatest potential to thwart the NRA's goals of defeating gun control proposals: politicians. As one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, the NRA contributes money to scores of pro-gun political candidates, as well as spending millions helping to defeat those who favor gun control measures.
When it comes to informing NRA members about who to vote for, rather than keep a list of anti-gun politicians, the NRA hands out grades to members of Congress, from A (solidly pro-gun) to F (pro gun control), based on voting records on gun issues.
UPDATE: Feb. 11 -- The controversial list of those that the NRA considered "anti-gun" has apparently been removed from the group's website. As of Monday, Feb. 11, clicking on the page that once housed the list brought up a note reading "Page Not Found." The Internet archive "Wayback Machine" captured an image of the page as it looked in late January.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
"I wish to God she had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/louie-gohmert-guns_n_2311379.html"><em>Fox News Sunday</em></a>. He argued that shooters often choose schools because they know people will be unarmed.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R)
"If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school," he <a href="http://www.wtop.com/610/3162096/Gov-Is-it-time-to-arm-school-officials">told WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show</a> Tuesday, warning that Washington may respond to such a policy with a "knee-jerk reaction."
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) & State Sen. Frank Niceley (R)
Gov. Haslam says he will consider a Tennessee plan to secretly arm and train some teachers, <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/12/tennessee-armed-teachers.php">TPM reports</a>. The legislation will be introduced by State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) next month. "Say some madman comes in. The first person he would probably try to take out was the resource officer. But if he doesn’t know which teacher has training, then he wouldn’t know which one had [a gun]," Niceley told TPM. "These guys are obviously cowards anyway and if someone starts shooting back, they’re going to take cover, maybe go ahead and commit suicide like most of them have."
Oklahoma State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) & State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R)
State Rep. Mark McCullough (R) <a href="http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121217_336_0_OKLAHO168827">told the Tulsa World</a> he plans to file legislation that would bring guns into schools, calling their absence "irresponsible." “It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended – to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it," he said. "I’ve been considering this proposal for a long time. In light of the savagery on display in Connecticut, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come." Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) told the Tulsa World that teachers should carry concealed weapons at school events. "Allowing teachers and administrators with concealed-carry permits the ability to have weapons at school events would provide both a measure of security for students and a deterrent against attackers," he said.
Florida State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R)
Baxley, who once sponsored Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, <a href="http://politics.heraldtribune.com/2012/12/17/florida-legislator-allow-guns-in-schools/">told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune </a>that keeping guns out of schools makes them a target for attacks. “We need to be more realistic at looking at this policy," he said. "In our zealousness to protect people from harm we’ve created all these gun-free zones and what we’ve inadvertently done is we’ve made them a target. A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
At a Tea Party event Monday night, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/rick-perry-guns-in-schools_n_2322185.html">Perry praised a Texas school system that allows some staff to carry concealed weapons to work</a> and encouraged local school districts to make their own policies.
Minnesota State Rep. Tony Cornish (R)
Cornish <a href="http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22736&Itemid=57">plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers to arm themselves</a>, according to the AP.
Oregon State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R)
In an email <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/oregon-state-rep-dennis-richardson-teacher-guns-stopped-connecticut-shooting_n_2317444.html?ir=Education">obtained by Gawker</a> and excerpted below, Richardson tells three superintendents that he could have saved lives had he been armed and in Sandy Hook on Friday: <blockquote>If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide. ... [O]ur children's safety depends on having a number of well-trained school employees on every campus who are prepared to defend our children and save their lives?</blockquote>
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett
"And I'm not so sure -- and I'm sure I'll get mail for this -- I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," Bennett, who served as education secretary under Ronald Reagan, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/bill-bennett-education-secretary-connecticut-shooting_n_2311774.html">told <em>Meet the Press</em> Sunday</a>. "The principal lunged at this guy. The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone who's trained, responsible. But, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, I think you ought to."