With the background checks bill stalled in the Senate, the New York Times was surprised to learn that it may largely be due to the determined and noisy efforts of a pro-gun advocacy group less than one-tenth the size of the National Rifle Association (NRA) — Gun Owners of America (GOA). Calling it an “upstart,” Times writer Jennifer Steinhauer wrote that the GOA “is emerging as an influential force.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intended to bring the expanded background checks bill to the floor as his first priority but had to back away after learning that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) had broken off private meetings with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to discuss a compromise on the controversial measure. Larry Pratt (shown in photo), GOA’s executive director, said his group’s efforts to express its dismay over Coburn with e-mails, letters, and phone calls to his office began to annoy the pro-gun senator. Said Pratt: “His staff admitted that it kind of irritated the senator. We were told ‘He’s getting tired of this.’ But when we hear complaints like that, we know we are close to success. We are happy this changed his mind.”
The NRA – their lobbying efforts are being pushed even further to the extreme by virtue of the fact that there’s another organization called Gun Owners of America. Whenever the NRA tries to be reasonable, the Gun Owners of America becomes more unreasonable, and it pushes the NRA [to the right.]
In an update to his members, Pratt was pleased to see that the Times was finally giving the group its due, quoting from the article:
Gun Owners of America, with its war chest, membership and lobbying strength dwarfed by the National Rifle Association, is emerging as an influential force as a series of gun control measures heads to the Senate floor….
The group has already been successful in both freezing senators, particularly Republicans [like Coburn], who have appeared to be on the fence about supporting bills to expand background checks and [has been] empowering those who have a strong gun rights background…
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Photo of Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America