Niagara Gazette — The NRA's deep pockets help bolster allies and punish lawmakers who buck them. The group spent at least $24 million in the 2012 elections — $16.8 million through its political action committee and nearly $7.5 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action. Separately, the NRA spent some $4.4 million through July 1 to lobby Congress. Keene insists the group represents its members and not just the gun manufacturers, though he said the NRA would like industry to contribute more money to the association.
"We know what works and what doesn't work. And we're not willing to compromise on people's rights when there is no evidence that doing so is going to accomplish the purpose," Keene said.
The NRA, instead, is pushing for measures that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, until a person gets better. "If they are cured, there ought to be a way out of it," Keene said.
Currently, a person is banned from buying a gun from a licensed dealer if the person is a fugitive, a felon, convicted of substance abuse, convicted of domestic violence, living in the U.S. illegally or someone who "has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution."
States, however, are inconsistent in providing information about mentally ill residents to the federal government for background checks. And, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, such as at gun shows and by private sellers over the Internet or through classified ads.