Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | national rifle association | membership | nra | politics

WashPost: NRA 'Politically Weaponized' Membership

WashPost: NRA 'Politically Weaponized' Membership
(Roman Krompolc/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 October 2017 11:06 AM

The National Rifle Association pushes a "politicized social identity" for gun owners, which has shaped the argument against gun control as a personal issue for them, The Washington Post reports.

In its programs and magazine editorials, the NRA has presented an image of "what it means to be a gun owner," according to the Post's Matthew Lacombe, who analyzed every editorial in American Rifleman, the most widely circulated firearms magazine in the country, from 1930 to 2008.

"The editorials show that for decades, the NRA has cultivated an image of gun owners as having a particular set of positive characteristics: They are reputable, law-abiding, honest, patriotic citizens who are self-sufficient and love freedom. And gun owners are presented as different from several distinct out-groups, especially politicians, the media and lawyers," Lacombe writes.

"Over this period, nearly three-quarters of NRA editorials framed gun regulation as attacking gun owners' identities. Rather than using technical, evidence-based appeals to argue that gun control won't reduce crime, the NRA argues that gun control disarms law-abiding citizens so that they're unable to defend themselves and their country."

Lacombe also read every letter to the editor about gun control published in four major newspapers: The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Arizona Republic and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He found that "pro-gun letters consistently mimic the NRA's political appeals."

The NRA also is much more successful at mobilizing its members in opposition to firearms regulation. Polls from Gallup and Pew Research Center show that NRA members are more likely to reach out to public officials and are more likely to vote solely on the issue of gun control.

"Over the years, the NRA surely co-opted and expanded some identity themes that already existed among various social groups, borrowing, for example, themes from rural life and military service. What's distinct is how it articulated, disseminated, expanded and united these otherwise separate ideas to cultivate a devoted, politically active membership united around a common identity," Lacombe concludes.

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Politics
The National Rifle Association pushes a "politicized social identity" for gun owners, which has shaped the argument against gun control as a personal issue for them, The Washington Post reports.
national rifle association, membership, nra, politics
326
2017-06-11
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 11:06 AM
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