01/14/2013 02:26 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2013

NRA Bullies Hijack Debate

By the way, the Constitution doesn't give the NRA a veto over gun laws. But you wouldn't know it by reading breathless news headlines heralding the opinions of this weapons industry front group.

Is it really news that the NRA rejects the president's gun control proposals? It might be if the National Rifle Association really had the power on Capitol Hill it pretends to have. But it doesn't.

Last year the NRA was a huge loser among big-money campaign givers -- 7 out of 8 Senate race losses; most House incumbents who lost were endorsed by the NRA. And that $15 million they spent against President Obama obviously didn't do any good.

Yet the media insists on treating the NRA's pronouncements as dispositive. Why? Because the group's leaders, and a lot of their members, are loud-mouthed bullies. One person in a crowded room can hijack a discussion if they talk over everyone else.

Polls show the NRA's intransigent opposition to any gun restrictions do not even represent most gun owners. Even their claims about the number of members they do represent is suspect. When soliciting industry advertisers for their newsletters, the NRA is careful not to lie to their patrons -- they claim about half the 4 million members they boast about to the media.

Studies of NRA finances reveal what ought to be obvious. It's nothing but an industry lobbyist, and for that the NRA gets a role in the debate -- but not as an arbiter of outcomes based upon its masquerade as a champion of the grass-roots and the Constitution.

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