The National Rifle Association can finally use the White House to raise money again, judging from a recent phone call.
The NRA is dialing up N.C. households (and, presumably, in other states, too) with apocalyptic Second Amendment warnings about President Obama but primarily to sign up new members or renew old ones. The phone bank staffer said the group is calling N.C. gun owners, though he had no way of knowing whether he was talking to one.
The caller introduces a recorded message from longtime NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre, warning that Obama wants to tax ammunition and take a host of other steps that infringe on gun rights: "We need to get ready for that fight," Lapierre says.
The NRA used then-President Bill Clinton during his administration as a fundraising tool, particularly after he pushed through a now-expired ban on so-called assault weapons and the 1993 Brady Law that required a criminal background check on gun buyers and, in most states, a waiting period for gun purchases. (The Brady Law has effectively been replaced by a national criminal check system managed by the FBI.)
The group had allies in President George W. Bush and the Republicans who controlled Congress for six of the past eight years, so it wasn't very practical during that time to use the White House and Congress to stir up gun rights anxiety.