Tuesday, March 5, 2013

NRA and NASCAR: Guns, Race Cars, and Politics

By Davy V.

Posted Tuesday March 5, 2013 10:00 a.m.

On April 13th, millions of Americans, including young children will tune in on television to watch a NASCAR race.

The NRA 500.

No, it's not a typo.


As in the National Rifle Association.

For the second time since September, when the NRA sponsored the American Warriors 300 in Atlanta, the NRA will sponsor a NASCAR race, this time the Texas 500, renamed the NRA 500.

The announcement of the NASCAR once again teaming up with the National Rifle Association comes at a time when the NRA has come under fire, no pun intended, in the wake of several mass shootings such as the Newtown, Connecticut Sandy Creek Elementary School massacre.

“It’s not about politics. It’s about sports marketing,” Texas Motor Seedway president Eddie Gossage said Monday after the announcement of the one-year agreement with the NRA .

The deal between the NRA and NASCAR includes a renewal option.

The NRA 500 in Texas, the first scheduled night race in the NASCAR Cup Series this season, will be known as the NRA 500.

NRA's Wayne LaPierre
In a video message which was played at the track's media day, National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre, was excited about the deal.

“The NRA 500 is the latest announcement in the long history of a growing partnership between the NRA, Speedway Motorsports and the NASCAR community,” LaPierre said. “NRA members and NASCAR fans love their country and everything that is good and right about America. We salute our flag, volunteer in our churches and communities, cherish our families and we love racing. On April 13, we’ll all come together at Texas Motor Speedway.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the Sprint Cup rookie who won the NRA American Warrior 300 at Atlanta last September, and the only Cup driver at the Texas Motor Speedway' media day, has no issue whatsoever with the NRA sponsoring NASCAR races.

"The NRA is our core fan base, and we all have guns, and all us racers love to go out and shoot. It’s part of who we are, anytime you have a sponsor that embraces their market and who their core customers are, it’s great for us.


As the son of Cuban refugees who came to the U.S. in 1968 fleeing a tyrannical communist police state, first of all, I do believe in the Second Amendment... it comes right after my favorite amendment in the Bill of Rights--that being the First Amendment of freedom of speech, etc.

However, the historical context of the Second Amendment is open to interpretation (being forced to house British troops,, need for militias, etc.--we were in a revolutionary war, for God's sake).

But, again, as I said, I believe in the Second Amendment.

However, I am disgusted with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, because I know exactly what he's doing.

This isn't about sports marketing.

This absolutely is about politics.

And money.

LaPierre knows exactly what he is doing.

Wayne LaPierre is pushing paranoia.

The absurd paranoia currently in vogue in the U.S. especially after President Obama's election, about a totalitarian government taking over.

This fear of a tyrannical U.S. government takeover of every aspect of life is overblown and borders on paranoia.

In today's U.S. reality, rather than fearing Big Brother, we should fear Big Business, with its ever-expanding capacity to collect our private information, even our medical records in some cases.

America is obsessed with guns.

And Wayne LaPierre knows exactly what he is doing.

He's continuing to foster that paranoia.

And in doing so, he's raking in millions for the NRA.

The "Ring of Freedom" donor list on the NRA's website says it all.

The list includes gun, ammunition and ammunition magazine manufacturers, weapons accessories providers, and gun retailers.

Smith & Wesson, Beretta USA, Ruger & Co., and Sturm, just to name a few.

The website shows that since 2005, corporations, have given the NRA between $19.8 and $52.6 million, with the majority of those donations coming from the firearms industry.

In an April press release, Ruger said that it had donated $1.2 million to the NRA in just the past 12 months.l

At the NRA's annual meeting in St. Louis in April, an updated corporate donors list includes Colt's Manufacturing Co., and the Freedom Group Inc., whose Bushmaster plant in Ilion, N.Y, makes the brand of AR-15 semiautomatic rifle which was used in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings on Dec. 14th, as well as in the Christmas Eve. firefighter ambush in West Webster, NY.

And speaking of that Bushmaster pant in IIion, NY, since 2009, New York State has invested nearly $6 Million to subsidize the Remington Arms Company, again, the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15.

Despite New York's tough-on-guns approach, including several elected leaders wanting restrictions on military-style weapons like the AR-15, it's important that people see that the bottom line, as always, comes down to money.

In fact, New York's Senator Charles Schumer was the driving force behind helping Remington Firearms secure Army contracts including an 8.9 Million U.S. Government contract awarded in 2011 for the company to produce 1,212 M24 sniper rifles.

Not surprisingly, it was Schumer who joined Remington at last year's event announcing Bushmaster's move to llion.

Another interesting thing is this.

Since 2003, the NRA has given New York legislators and political committees $217,400 - the organization's biggest outlay of donations over that period.

Almost half of the NRA's donations to New York State politicians came in 2010, after the defeat of
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed legislation to micro stamp bullet casings, which the NRA opposed.

The NRA then gave $92,500 to the State Senate Republican Committee just weeks before the 2010 election, when Republicans took back control.

Rebublican Sen. Joe Robach from Rochester, NY
Joe Robach, the Republican Senator from Rochester, NY received $10,050, the biggest individual donation in the state since 2003.

Following in the NRA's lead, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, then donated $103,500 including $80,000 to New York's Senate Republican Campaign Committee in 2010.

Like I said, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre knows exactly what he is doing.

What's next?

The NRA sponsoring Little League baseball?

It wouldn't surprise me.

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