AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File
For gun control activists, the National Rifle Association is the biggest boogieman out there. They’re convinced that it’s the only barrier to them being able to run roughshod over the American people and enact their radical and draconian gun control agenda. Hatred for the NRA fills their rhetoric and makes a convenient whipping boy for their historic failures to enact gun control.
Now, they’re going after the group’s tax-exempt status as a way to try and dismantle the organization.
A gun control group has filed an IRS complaint against the National Rifle Association (NRA), calling for an investigation into whether the gun rights organization violated tax laws surrounding charitable organizations.
“The NRA is a purported charity and exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and we write today to alert you to what we believe are activities that clearly fall outside of the NRA’s charitable purpose and mission,” Everytown for Gun Safety said in a letter attached to their complaint filed Thursday.
“We call on the IRS to commence an investigation into whether (i) the NRA has violated the federal laws governing 501(c)(4) charitable organizations, and (ii) if so, consider what remedies are warranted, including potential revocation of the NRA’s 501(c)(4) status.”
Everytown filed the complaint following an article in The New Yorker on Wednesday that claimed that “a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements.”
A former IRS official argues that if those facts are confirmed, it could be disastrous for the NRA, which is why Everytown filed the complaint.
However, Everytown, like most other gun control groups, fails to understand where the power of the NRA comes from. You see, the NRA isn’t powerful because it’s got money. Oh, don’t get me wrong, that sure as hell helps, but that’s not the source.
No, the NRA is powerful because of its membership.
You see, while gun control groups claim that the NRA profits off of gun sales, fairly little of its revenue comes from gun manufacturers and absolute none comes from the direct sale of firearms. The NRA and gun manufacturers have a common cause, namely keeping firearms legal in this great land of ours, so of course, there’s bound to be some overlap.
But the NRA derives its power from the membership itself, with something like six million members. Millions of others are supporters to some degree or another.
Those members back most of the same measures the NRA supports. When the NRA lobbies members of Congress, it speaks with the voices of millions upon millions of Americans. Not just any Americans, either, but politically-active Americans who will turn out to vote on election day and have no problem voting out lawmakers who don’t take their concerns seriously.
Removing the NRA’s tax-exempt status won’t change that.
Further, removing the NRA from the playing field won’t suddenly open things up for Everytown, either. Those six million members? We’re still here. You’re not getting rid of us, and members of Congress damn well know that.
All that would happen is you get a very upset electorate.
So, the fact that the NRA is likely to survive either way means Everytown is wasting its time and effort.