Last week, as the National Rifle Association geared up for its annual meeting in Indianapolis, a spokesperson summed up the group's base. "Everyone thinks our strength comes from our money. It doesn't," Andrew Arulanandam told the Indianapolis Star. "Our strength is truly in our membership. We have a savvy and loyal voting bloc." The NRA regularly cites its devoted 4-5 million members as evidence of its clout and relevance. Yet while the gun lobby publicly extols its grassroots supporters, it has also been overlooking their interests while catering to those of the oil and gas industry.
The NRA calls itself "the No. 1 hunter's organization in America." But two new reports published by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Gun Truth Project and Corporate Accountability International show that, following contributions from oil and gas companies, the NRA lent its support to legislation that would open up more federal public lands to fossil-fuel extraction, compromising the wilderness that many hunters value.