Ronan Farrow Daily | April 25, 2014
>> welcome back. developing news at the nra . the biggest gun group in the country kicks off its annual convention this hour in indiana. wayne lapierre kicked off his speech moment ago many take a listen.
>> history has proven that president obama that they try to suppress. firearms in the hands of good people save lives.
>> the nra is among the most powerful political groups in the country. wasn't always so. it was a haven for marksman. in the 197 0s it emerged as a political force. boy, have they been a force since then. joining me is dan gross, president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence and sam stein of the huffington post . the foundation were perpetuating a lot of anxiety saying, quote, that his members that he has been talking to have never been worried about the country the way they are now before this time. do you think that's browned? is there a rise in violence that people need to defend against?
>> no. it couldn't be any less grounded in fact. in fact, the results of the political agenda are the onlyreating the violence that everybody seems to be so scared about.
>> what about his perpetuating anxiety about the rights.
>> that's the strategy. the paranoid, fearmongering, wrapping it in the rights and freedom of the people, rank and file nra members. the reality is, and we have to remember, what he is promoting is nothing more than the agenda of the corporate gun lobby . that's really what this is about, and drumming up that fear and paranoia. i would call it delusional if it weren't so calculated. that's what the rest of the american public, 90% of americans who support not taking guns out of the hands of the good guys and gals but keeping them out of the hands of dangerous people through things like background checks , which includes the majority of nra members themselves, rank and file nra members. that's what we need to realize. our issue isn't with the people in the audience there, the people who might have gone hunting, dawning camouflage.
>> let's get to the corporate bagging in a moment. but first, sam, i wanted to get your reaction to his gun control issue with a number of other pr debacles they have faced. he linked it to the nsa scandal, violations of privacy, calling it a corruption of trust. is that a smart move on his part?
>> it has proven to be strategically smart. the nra is as powerful if not more than any point. the problem he faces is during the first term he had a pretty good boogeyman. he said he will come and get your guns. he doesn't have that in the second term. the president is not running for reelection. he needs to create a few other things for people to get fearful about. in this case, at this speech specifically, a variety of things, the government is expand to go dangerous degrees and you need to have and preserve your rights against the government. he brought in the irs, nsa. all of it convincing people to stock up on firearms.
>> the group is more powerful that it has ever been. according to the center for responsive politics , it ranks near the top six of the country's political organizations in terms of money spent and a political contributions, lobbying, outside spending.
>> how much of the influence comes from that robust cash flow?
>> i would say not as much as often reported. the nra power tends to be its members are incredibly motivated and tend to be on a single issue. that's gun rights . they can spend a lot of money. what's far or effect wall for them is to have people call up their congressional or the member of congress 's office and petition them. so during the debate over background checks , it's true they had 80% to 85% on background checks . the vast majority of phone calls were from those people opposed to it. that's the nra power. they can motivate their base better than basically any other interest group in the country.
>> maybe the money angle is overplayed by the press. certainly it's a concern for the opposition groups. the nr a's last annual revenues were $256 million. the brady center , which is one of the largest, most significant had $3.8 million in the same year. there is a huge gap here.
>> we had $10 million last year. and you know, there are really exciting things happening on our side of the issue, not the least of which mayor bloom burr's extraordinary commitment of $50 million.
>> do you think that will be a "game change" senator.
>> that with the money that gabby giffords is bringing, the continued speeding that brady lance practice on this issue. it's the aggregate, even on a financial level, puts us on an even playing field . but very importantly, we need to do a better job on our side of the issue communicating to the american public what this issue is really about, which is the influence of the corporate gun lobby . that's not only boogeyman because that implies it's unjustified. it's our real enemy. we need to expose it in broad daylight what the corporate gun lobby is doing to influence the vote. wayne lapierre talked about all the dishonest in washington, d.c. and politics. the most dishonest politicians i would contend are the ones at this event.
>> call it dishonest or honest. it is certainly on major display. there are a lot of gun vendors and manufacturers right there at that conference. we will be watching in the coming days and months. thanks for joining us.