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.