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The NRA Is Bankrupt But It Still Owns America’s Gun Agency

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The NRA declared bankruptcy; its longtime chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, has been disgraced, setting the gun rights group back on its heels.

Yet the NRA is still a powerful enough force in Washington politics to derail President Biden’s effort to install a Senate-confirmed leader of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), once again reminding gun control advocates of how steep the climb is to achieve reasonable regulation of firearms.

While it’s mired in myriad Washington scandals, the NRA still has a devoted following in communities across America that aren’t bothered by mainstream media coverage of LaPierre living the high life on the NRA’s dime, or his botched shooting of an elephant in Botswana. They see that as the elites “coming after us” and coming for their guns. Knocking off another ATF nominee is the kind of fight the NRA loves, said Jim Kessler, who cut his teeth on Capitol Hill working on the assault weapons ban in the ’90s.

“The ATF director is on page 12 (of the newspaper) if he’s on any page at all,” Kessler continued. “It’s their kind of fight, where they’re the only one really paying attention.” Most Americans aren’t focused on who will lead the ATF, and when President Biden withdrew his nomination of former ATF agent David Chipman earlier this month, it received scant notice even though it was only the second time Biden pulled a Senate-confirmable appointee. (The other was Neera Tanden for the OMB.)

The NRA did not act alone. It was aided and abetted by an interlocking array of groups with lower national profiles. Among them is the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation), headquartered in Newtown, Connecticut, just two miles from the school where 20 first graders were gunned down in December 2012. The NSSF’s pressure campaign helped persuade Senator Angus........

© The Daily Beast

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