A story on Gun Owners of America received front-page treatment Thursday morning from The Times, which used a sizeable amount of its valuable real estate to explain how the group is (a.) to the right of the National Rifle Association, and (b.) may be as influential, if not more so, when it comes to secretive lobbying efforts with members of Congress.
Never heard of the GOA? Join the crowd. That's why The Times' report is so instructive. It provides countless examples of how the GOA has influenced Washington lawmakers in its efforts to oppose any sort of gun-control measures.
According to The Times, "The (GOA) group has already been successful in both freezing senators, particularly Republicans, who have appeared to be on the fence about supporting bills to expand background checks and increase penalties for illegal gun purchases, and empowering those who have a strong gun rights background."
Of course, The Times isn't the only source for GOA information.
I found this point quite interesting. According to Slate.com and Opensecrets.org, GOA has not donated money to a Democratic lawmaker since 2000. But the well-known and much-criticized NRA donated to 26 Democratic House members and one Senate member last year alone. So much for the NRA being the epitome of a right-leaning organization that never crosses the political aisle for any reason.
As the Slate authors wrote, "Obviously it's difficult to quantify exactly how much influence each group wields in Washington, but if nothing else the NYT story is a reminder that as much as the NRA is often portrayed as the exclusive mouthpiece of the pro-gun crowd (a group that includes both gun owners and gun makers, among others), it's not the only one working to defeat any substantive gun control legislation."
-- Phillip Tutor