NRA has history of promoting gun rights outside U.S.

  • FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2010 file photo, an employee looks through the scope of long gun at a gun store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. When Canada first sought to restrict gun access in the 1990s, the National Rifle Association threatened a boycott by U.S. hunters spending tourism dollars in the country. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP) Jeff McIntosh

  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2005 file photo, people walk past graffiti in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a day before a vote to ban the sale of firearms and ammunition to civilians. Backed by the Roman Catholic church and other powerful forces in the country, one poll a month before the referendum put support at 73 percent. The U.S.-based National Rifle Association worked with activists in Brazil to help defeat it. (AP Photo/Renzo Gostoli, File) RENZO GOSTOLI

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 file photo, a salesperson checks rifles in a gun shop display in Sydney, Australia. A documentary aired in March 2019 by Al Jazeera reported officials with Australia's far-right One Nation party met with two National Rifle Association representatives and other gun-rights advocates seeking money to undermine Australian gun laws. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft) Rick Rycroft

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2002 file photo, National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston holds up a rifle as he addresses gun owners during a "get-out-the-vote" rally in Manchester, N.H. While American gun-rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution - something that doesn't translate to most countries around the world - the NRA's track record of aggressively shaping the debate has nevertheless turned it into the go-to group for other gun-rights activists outside the U.S. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) Jim Cole

Associated Press
Published: 4/14/2019 8:15:22 PM

The recent revelation that National Rifle Association representatives had met with Australian politicians to discuss talking points after a mass shooting generated outrage from various politicians.

The reality is that the NRA has been exerting its influence on gun debates outside the U.S. for a number of years, exporting its firebrand rhetoric and belief that more guns will lead to less crime.

The lobbying group has sought sway at the United Nations to make it easier to sell American guns overseas and has on more than one occasion guided gun-rights groups in Brazil, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. It advised gun activists in Russia, entanglements that in recent years made the NRA vulnerable to allegations it allowed alleged Russian operatives to use the organization to influence American politics.

While American gun rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – something that doesn’t translate to most countries around the world – the group’s track record of aggressively shaping the debate has nevertheless turned it into the go-to group for other gun-rights activists outside the U.S.

There are several reasons why the NRA doesn’t confine itself to the U.S.

For one, it’s helpful to American gun makers if other countries make it easier for citizens to buy and possess firearms, opening up new markets. And when other countries ease restrictions, it helps bolster one of the NRA’s most prominent messages.

“They can make the argument, you know, ‘Look, other nations don’t like stricter gun laws either,’ because one of the debate points that has hurt the NRA is that pretty much every other democratic nation has stricter gun laws than us and lower gun ownership,” said Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and a longtime watcher of the NRA.

A documentary aired last month by Al Jazeera reported officials with Australia’s far-right One Nation party met with two NRA representatives and other gun-rights advocates seeking money to undermine Australian gun laws. During the meeting, captured on video by an undercover journalist posing as a gun lobbyist, they ask the NRA officials for advice on how to respond after a mass shooting. They’re told to start with silence and then if it persists, to go on the offensive.

The NRA said it met with the Australians but did not provide any of the requested money sought at the meeting.




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