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"Your fight has become our fight": when did the NRA become the public face of the gun industry?

1967 The NRA declares it "is not affiliated with any manufacturer of arms or ammunition."

1977 Hardliners oust NRA leadership for going soft on gun rights. New president Harlon Carter turns the group into a political powerhouse.

1982 Sturm Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and other gun companies help fund the NRA's $5 million drive to defeat California's "handgun freeze" proposition.

1991 The NRA asks 16 gun makers for input on whether it should start a satellite TV channel to present "our truthful unbiased story." Manufacturers are enthusiastic.

1999 NRA president Charlton Heston tells gun manufacturers facing product liability lawsuits: "Your fight has become our fight. Your legal threat is our constitutional threat," even if "others are going to say we've become what they've always thought--a shill for the industry."

2000 The NRA organizes a boycott of Smith & Wesson after the gun maker works with the Clinton administration to make safer guns in exchange for legal immunity.

* Taurus firearms offers a free NRA membership to all customers, bringing in more than 40,000 members over the next 12 years.

2004 The NRA helps block renewal of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban. Rifle production jumps 75 percent in the following seven years.

2005 Congress passes the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocks product liability suits against gun makers and sellers--a shield no other industry enjoys.

* The NRA launches its Ring of Freedom campaign to enlist corporate partners. By 2011, about 50 gun companies sign up, raising as much as $38 million. Beretta USA and ammo maker MidwayUSA kick in more than $1 million each.

2007 The NRA thanks Glock for signing up 10,000 of its customers as new members.

2008 Beretta pledges $1 million to the NRA over the next five years.

2011 Friends Of NRAa launches on the Outdoor Channel; episodes include visits to gun companies such as Winchester, Barrett, and Taurus.

* Ruger promises the NRA $1 for every weapon it sells in a year. It ends up donating $12 million.

* Gun industry and other corporate donations to the NRA total more than $59 million.

2012 MidwayusA donates $1 million to the NRA; Smith & Wesson donates more than $1 million.

2013 The CEO of the Freedom Group, maker of the AR-15 rifle, is nominated to run for the NRA board of directors.

* The NRA'S Eddie Eagle gun safety website declares the group is "not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers."--P.S.

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Title Annotation:National Rifle Association
Author:P.S.
Publication:Mother Jones
Article Type:Chronology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2013
Words:417
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