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Idea of the Day: The NRA Is Spending Big to Elect Pro-Gun Judges and Prosecutors

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The National Rifle Association has funneled millions of dollars to a front group that spends its money electing judges and state attorneys general who are tough on crime—unless those crimes involve violations of gun-violence prevention laws. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America was founded with funding from the NRA in 1991, while Congress was debating the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Police associations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police had come out strongly in favor of the Brady Act, and relations with the NRA were strained after the NRA opposed a 1986 bill to ban “cop killer” bullets that can pierce body armor. So the NRA founded the Law Enforcement Alliance of America and claimed that it represented the “average cop”—who supposedly opposed gun-violence prevention.

Because the Law Enforcement Alliance of America refuses to disclose the sources of its funding, it is difficult to discern how much money the NRA has given the organization. The NRA’s tax documents, however, reveal that it gave at least $2 million to the alliance between 2004 and 2010. Previous reports indicate that the NRA donated $500,000 annually to the organization from 1995 to 2004, which would total more than $6 million.

The Law Enforcement Alliance of America now claims tens of thousands of members, and its website states that it believes in “the right to self-defense” and that “criminals, especially violent ones, deserve to be punished—swiftly and severely!” The alliance has opposed common-sense gun-violence prevention measures such as background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of people on the federal government’s “Terrorist Watchlist.”

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