National Association for Gun Rights
Logo of National Association for Gun Rights
|Formation||March 29, 2000|
|Legal status||501(c)(4) nonprofit organization|
The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) is a conservative gun rights advocacy group in the United States. They maintain an affiliated PAC and a nonprofit legal foundation. Officially incorporated in Virginia on March 29, 2000, NAGR was founded by Dudley Brown as a national companion organization to Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. NAGR is a rival of the National Rifle Association and considers itself the "conservative alternative" to the NRA. The group spends most of its energy attacking lawmakers deemed too soft on Second Amendment issues via direct mail, robocalls and low-cost television ads. The group has gained notoriety for its aggressive lobbying tactics and attack ads.
National Association for Gun Rights is opposed to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The organization is also opposed to legislative actions on high-capacity magazines. National Association for Gun Rights opposes efforts led by Citizens for Self-Governance to call a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution to rein in the powers of the federal government.
When a vacancy arose in the Colorado State Legislature in 2012, NAGR supported Tim Neville over State Representative Jim Kerr, whom they felt was not sufficiently supportive of Second Amendment rights.
In 2012, National Association for Gun Rights sued the state of Montana over state laws that may require the organization to register as a political committee prior to mailing postcards critical of Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock's record on gun rights. According to the IRS, "a section 501(c)(4)... may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity." National Association for Gun Rights' request for a preliminary injunction was denied in October. Bullock was elected Governor the following month.
In March 2015, National Association for Gun Rights was involved in opposing gun control measures in Vermont. The NAGR campaigned to stop the Vermont state legislature from passing SB 141. Also in March 2015, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) initiated a rule change that would ban M855 ball ammunition for civilian use. NAGR reported delivering 132,662 petitions to the ATF that urged the agency to stop the ammunition ban.
National Association for Gun Rights supports the passage of no-permit Constitutional carry. In April 2015, NAGR supported Kansas bill SB 45, which allows for Constitutional carry. NAGR representatives were present at the bill signing on April 2.
In June 2015, National Association for Gun Rights sent out mailers targeting Republican William J. Howell, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. According to The Washington Post, NAGR's mailer "Portrayed Howell as being friendly to rapists" by depicting a woman cowering before a knife-wielding assailant alongside the text "Speaker Bill Howell thinks you should be left vulnerable to armed thugs and rapists!" Howell had been endorsed by the NRA and said he was a "100 percent supporter of the Second Amendment". Howell described the mailers as "pretty low by even today's political standards".
In 2015, the Colorado State Legislature considered amending a 2013 law that limited magazines to 15 rounds. The legislature wanted to increase the limit to 30 rounds. Brown rejected the proposed increase on the grounds that there should be no limit at all. NAGR was criticized for their position, with Jon Caldara of the libertarian Independence Institute calling NAGR head Dudley Brown a "bully".
Disagreement with the National Rifle Association
In November 2011, the U.S. House passed legislation that would require states that issue concealed gun permits to recognize similar licenses from other states. The bill was supported by the National Rifle Association which considered it to be a top priority, but opposed by the NAGR on the basis that it could become a "Trojan horse for more gun control".
A 2014 Newsmax article compared the NRA and NAGR, noting differences such as the NRA's substantially larger budget. In 2013, NAGR spent close to $1.9 million on gun lobbying during the first three months of the year, while the NRA reported spending $700,000 on the same issue.
The NRA has referred to NAGR leader Dudley Brown as "the Al Sharpton of the gun movement".
The Huffington Post described NAGR as "The much leaner, more pugnacious version of the NRA. Where the NRA has looked to find some common ground with gun reform advocates and at least appear to be reasonable, NAGR has been the unapologetic champion of opening up gun laws even more."
In a 2019 Politico article, NAGR president Dudley Brown described the differences between his organization and the NRA "As an organization, we don’t use Gucci-loafered lobbyists in Washington, D.C. in $200,000 wardrobes to grease the palms of weak-kneed politicians to vote right,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, referencing the NRA chief executive’s purported lavish spending. “Instead, we activate our members to do that lobbying for us and for them. That’s the power in a grassroots lobby and NRA lost that a long time ago.”
National Foundation for Gun Rights
Through its foundation, National Association for Gun Rights filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service, Bonidy v. USPS for prohibiting the carrying of firearms on Postal Service property. The 10th circuit ruled in favor of the gun ban, and the Supreme Court refused to consider the case.
Political action committee
The National Association for Gun Rights PAC (NAGR-PAC) is an affiliated political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission. Founded in 2010, it endorsed and donated to several candidates for federal office, including Paul Broun (R-GA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Rand Paul (R-KY).
In the 2012 election cycle, NAGR-PAC endorsed Richard Mourdock, who defeated Dick Lugar for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Indiana, with an initial contribution of $4,500 to his campaign; Steve Daines, who ran a successful campaign for Montana's at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Steve Stockman who ran a successful campaign for Texas's 36th congressional district. NAGR-PAC spent $83,312 in election-related expenses during the 2012 election cycle.
NAGR sent out mailers in the 2016 Texas state legislative primary season that "walked a fine line under new and still untested state ethics law", according to the Houston Chronicle.
In August 2013, National Association for Gun Rights and Dudley Brown were profiled in a 5280 magazine story. According to the article, Brown "savagely and routinely attacks candidates and officeholders unwilling to pledge, in writing, their absolute loyalty to Brown on Second Amendment issues". NAGR was described as a "fund-raising machine that bullies anyone who compromises Brown's pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda." Former Colorado Republican State Representative B.J. Nikkel said Brown "is a political terrorist and a modern-day charlatan who operates in the shadows and portrays himself as a supposed 'Christian,' but he uses the people naive enough to believe him and financially support him".
Mother Jones magazine included NAGR on a list of "7 Gun Groups That Make the NRA Look Reasonable".
In 2013, FactCheck.org, in a piece called "Gun Rights Group's Aim Is Way Off", found that NAGR "is going after three congressmen with 'A' ratings from the National Rifle Association by falsely claiming they support President Obama's gun control agenda".
National Association for Gun Rights has been criticized for its fundraising practices. Former Republican Colorado Governor Bill Owens said Brown "makes his money when there's turmoil, real or perceived, because that's what gets his members to write him checks". Ammoland wrote that Brown's "rhetoric has done more to marginalize Second Amendment activism than all of the slanders from gun prohibition lobbying groups combined".
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