With the country at a critical juncture in the gun debate, a normally routine meeting of the National Rifle Association has taken on greater significance as its board of directors gathers near the nation’s capital this week.
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are weighing stricter gun measures in the aftermath of mass killings in Texas and Ohio. Democratic presidential candidates in their debate Thursday were relentless in their pursuit of harsh gun restrictions, punctuated by former El Paso Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s vow that, “hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Corporate America also has been increasingly pushing back against the NRA. The gun organization’s legal battles and internal strife have deepened since the last time the NRA board met at a tumultuous April gathering. It’s even been labeled a domestic terrorist organization by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a move that prompted a lawsuit from the NRA.
Even the location of the fall meeting, an annual affair that is usually under-the-radar, ended up being controversial. The NRA originally planned to hold the gathering, which is not open to the public or to most rank-and-file NRA members, in Alaska. That far-flung location drew criticism among some NRA members for being an unnecessary expense and a way to avoid scrutiny.