On the face of things, then, the NRA is a wealthy and powerful organisation. At a recent event, one speaker boasted about the political pain the organisation caused Bill Clinton during his presidency. More recently, according to OpenSecrets.org, it spent $7.2mduring the 2010 election cycle. Its influence can also be seen in the way politicians respond to its demands. For example, at the height of its powers in the 1990s it succeeded in quashing research into gun-related injuries and deaths by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But Paul Waldman, of the American Prospect, has recently argued that the NRA’s dominance is a myth. He has looked closely at the figures and writes, “Despite what the NRA has long claimed, it neither delivered Congress to the Republican party in 1994 nor delivered the White House to George W. Bush in 2000.” He also argues that NRA money has no impact on congressional elections, as it spreads its money over so many races, and that NRA endorsements are “almost meaningless” as most go to incumbent Republicans with little chance of losing.