Wayne Lapierre is a fraud

He gets paid a huge amount of money to lobby for the gun industry and will say anything to keep the big bucks flowing into his pocket.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/wayne-lapierre-cpac-speech-nra/index.html

The head of the biggest gun lobby in the US has accused Democrats of pushing a "socialist" agenda to deprive gun owners of their weapons, in an uncompromising speech just a week after 17 people died in the Florida school shooting. Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, made no attempt to moderate his message a day after survivors of the Parkland shooting faced down lawmakers in a CNN debate and the President at the White House. Instead, he told conservative activists that voters should be "frightened" of any future Democrat election victories, and accused Democrats of exploiting the deaths in an effort to destroy the Second Amendment.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/22/politics/wayne-lapierre-cpac-speech-nra/index.html
If you're a transparency fan like me, you appreciate knowing what kind of skin public people have in the game during episodes like this. So what did the NRA pay Lapierre to say that the best way to stop school shootings is to have the government put every mentally ill person in the nation on a watch list and arm school personnel to defend schools like banks? Just under a million bucks.
The year is 2018 not 1788 or even 1818, the 2nd Amendment was clearly designed for another time. The only thing that Wayne Lapierre cares about is profits for the corporations who directly pay him to lobby on their behalf using the NRA which he hijacked years ago. What Americans are already are frightened of is being killed by their own countrymen with guns who lose it and take them out indiscriminately. Not only should gun makers be sued every time there is a gun death, but the NRA should be sued until it no longer exists.

Wayne Lapierre is a disgrace; but more disgrace are people who fall for his fraudulent and heartless talk.

Wayne Lapierre is a disgrace; but more disgrace are people who fall for his fraudulent and heartless talk.
Agreed. They took an organization that was created to encourage marksmanship and turned it into a PR firm for the biggest gun makers. http://time.com/4106381/nra-1871-history/
Today and for the last fifty years or so, the National Rifle Association has been a powerful political group best known for its staunch defense of Americans’ rights to bear arms. When it was granted a charter by New York State on this day—Nov. 17—in 1871, it had a very particular reason for coming into being. As TIME’s Richard Lacayo explained in a 1990 feature about the group, “The N.R.A. was founded in 1871 by a group of former Union Army officers dismayed that so many Northern soldiers, often poorly trained, had been scarcely capable of using their weapons."
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/fully-loaded-ten-biggest-gun-manufacturers-america/
They are all white, all middle-aged, and all men. A few live openly lavish lifestyles, but the majority fly under the radar. Rarely is there news about them in the mainstream media or even the trade press. Their obscurity would seem unremarkable if we were talking about the biggest manufacturers of auto accessories or heating systems. But these are America’s top gunmakers—leaders of the nation’s most controversial industry. They have kept their heads down and their fingerprints off regulations designed to protect their businesses—foremost a law that shields gun companies from liability for crimes committed with their products. With this investigation, Mother Jones set out to break through the opacity surrounding the $8 billion firearms industry and the men who control it. While the three largest companies disclose some financials, the rest are privately held. Some are further shrouded by private-equity funds or shell corporations based in overseas tax havens. We mined manufacturing data and import statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). We also examined obscure press clippings, court documents, private industry reports, and tax records from the Treasury Department. Together, the 10 companies we investigated produce more than 8 million firearms per year for buyers in the United States, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total market. (None of the companies responded to our requests for further information.)
For much of its history the NRA was pro gun control... until libertarian nut jobs took it over, one of them a vigilante killer. https://www.salon.com/2013/01/14/the_nra_once_supported_gun_control/
“Historically, the leadership of the NRA was more open-minded about gun control than someone familiar with the modern NRA might imagine," wrote Adam Winkler, a Second Amendment scholar at U.C.L.A. Law School, in his 2011 book, Gunfight: The Battle Over The Right To Bear Arms In America. “The Second Amendment was not nearly as central to the NRA’s identity for most of the organization’s history."
Harlon Carter wasn’t just another hard-headed Texan who grew up in a small town that was once home to frontiersman Davy Crockett. He was an earlier era’s version of George Zimmerman, the Floridian young man who claims to have shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense in February 2012—even though police records and 911 recordings seem to show Zimmerman was looking for a fight. According to Carol Vinzant’s 2005 book, Lawyers, Guns, and Money: One Man’s Battle With The Gun Industry, a 17-year-old Carter found and confronted a Mexican teenager who he believed helped steal his family’s car. When the 15-year-old pulled a knife, Carter shot and killed him. His conviction was overturned when an appeals court said the jury should have considered a self-defense argument. In November 1976, the NRA’s old guard Board of Directors fired Carter and 80 other employees associated with the more expansive view of the Second Amendment and implicit distrusting any government firearm regulation. For months, the Carter cadre secretly plotted their revenge and hijacked the NRA’s annual meeting in Cincinatti in May 1977. The meeting had been moved from Washington to protest its new gun control law. Winkler writes that Carter’s top deputy Neal Knox was even more extreme than him—wanting to roll back all existing gun laws, including bans on machine guns and saying the federal government had killed Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy as “part of a plot to advance gun control." Using the NRA’s parliamentary rules, the rebels interrupted the agenda from the floor and revised how the Board of Directors was chosen, recommited the NRA to fighting gun control and restored the lobbying ILA. Harlon Carter became the NRA’s new executive director. He cancelled a planned move of its national headquarters from Washington to Colorado Springs. And he changed the organization’s motto on its DC headquarters, selectively editing the Second Amendment to reflect a non-compromising militancy, “The Right Of The People To Keep And Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed." After Carter was re-elected to lead the NRA in 1981, The New York Times reported on Carter’s teenage vigilante killing—and how he changed his first name’s spelling to hide it. At first, he claimed the shooting was by someone else—and then recanted but refused to discuss it. Winkler writes, “the hard-liners in the NRA loved it. Who better to lead them than a man who really understood the value of a gun for self-protection?"
If killers are behind the modern day NRA is it any wonder they have no issue at all with lunatics like them using their products to killer other Americans. It used to be a credible organization, now it is totally twisted and a huge part of the problem.

I think the NRA fits the description of a terrorist organization.
The association used to work closely with government in drafting gun control laws to protect citizens.
https://www.salon.com/2013/01/14/the_nra_once_supported_gun_control/

In the 1920s and 1930s, the NRA’s leaders helped write and lobby for the first federal gun control laws—the very kinds of laws that the modern NRA labels as the height of tryanny. The 17th Amendment outlawing alchohol became law in 1920 and was soon followed by the emergence of big city gangsters who outgunned the police by killing rivals with sawed-off shotguns and machine guns—today called automatic weapons. In the early 1920s, the National Revolver Association—the NRA’s handgun training counterpart—proposed model legislation for states that included requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon, adding five years to a prison sentence if a gun was used in a crime, and banning non-citizens from buying a handgun. They also proposed that gun dealers turn over sales records to police and created a one-day waiting period between buying a gun and getting it—two provisions that the NRA opposes today. Nine states adopted these laws: West Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Oregon, California, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Connecticut. Meanwhile, the American Bar Association had been working to create uniform state laws, and built upon the proposal but made the waiting period two days. Nine more states adopted it: Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. State gun control laws were not controversial—they were the norm. Within a generation of the country’s founding, many states passed laws banning any citizen from carrying a concealed gun. The cowboy towns that Hollywood lionized as the ‘Wild West’ actually required all guns be turned in to sheriffs while people were within local city limits. In 1911, New York state required handgun owners to get a permit, following an attempted assassination on New York City’s mayor. (Between 1865 and 1901, three presidents had been killed by handguns: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley.) But these laws were not seen as effective against the Depression’s most violent gangsters. In 1929, Al Capone’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre saw men disguised as Chicago police kill 7 rivals with machine guns. Bonnie and Clyde’s crime-and-gun spree from 1932-34 was a national sensation. John Dellinger robbed 10 banks in 1933 and fired a machine gun as he sped away. A new president in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made fighting crime and gun control part of his ‘New Deal.’ The NRA helped him draft the first federal gun controls: 1934’s National Firearms Act and 1938’s Gun Control Act. The NRA President at the time, Karl T. Frederick, a 1920 Olympic gold-medal winner for marksmanship who became a lawyer, praised the new state gun controls in Congress. “I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons," he testified before the 1938 law was passed. “I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." These federal firearms laws imposed high taxes and registration requirements on certain classes of weapons—those used in gang violence like machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and silencers—making it all-but impossible for average people to own them. Gun makers and sellers had to register with the federal government, and certain classes of people—notably convicted felons—were barred from gun ownership. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld these laws in 1939. The legal doctrine of gun rights balanced by gun controls held for nearly a half-century.
The extremists who hijacked the NRA in the 1970s and 80s have been treating the US government as the enemy and steadily working to make sure there is as little control of guns in America aggressively undoing generations of work of former NRA leaders. These extremists were taking the same position as the Black Panthers who wanted free access to guns for their cause.
But in the mid-1960s, the Black Panthers were better-known than the NRA for expressing that view of the Second Amendment. By 1968, however, Burbick notes that the NRA’s magazine’s most assertive editorials began saying the problem was fighting crime and not guns—which we hear today. The 1968 law ordered the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to enforce the new gun laws. In 1971, ATF raided a lifetime NRA member’s house who was suspected of having a large illegal arms cache and shot and killed him. That prompted “the ardent reactionary William Leob," then editor of New Hampshire’s influential Manchester Union Leader newspaper, to call the federal agents “Treasury Gestapo," Burbick noted, even though later evidence confirmed the weapons cache. Loeb and other white libertarians with podiums started to assert that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to guns—like the Black Panthers. But, of course, they were seeking to keep America’s white gun owners fully armed.
All the NRA really does now is make sure that there will always be a ready supply of guns for almost anyone who sees the rest of the country as the enemy, a position held closely by many in the NRA who have been waging war on effective legislation to protect the lives of most Americans for years. The NRA understood decades ago that gun control was a necessary step to control the use of guns in violent crimes. Now the NRA is on the side of violent criminals but ensuring they have free access to weapons that can be used for mass murder on a scale not even imagined in the early part of last century when the NRA was fully in support of the government and law and order. One of the reasons there is so little law and order in America is because of the anarchists in the NRA who want the rule of the jungle to prevail, which is exactly what happens when predators like the Florida school shooter and the Las Vegas mass shooter get their hands of the means to inflict maximum damage on people who they have reduced to the level of prey. How is the NRA not a terrorist organization when it constantly enables such constant terror across America. This is the NRA at work and they are so delusional they don't even understand their role in this ongoing slaughter of innocents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiFtJ2pg_94 This and most of these other mass shooting have only been made possible by decades of the NRA making sure that the means to kill on this scale was there for predators. And Wayne Lapierre is the most prominent face of this, he's help kill more Americans and created more domestic terror than bin Laden ever did...

So put these numbers in the proper context.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States

Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher.[13] Although it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, the U.S. had 82 percent of all gun deaths, 90 percent of all women killed with guns, 91 percent of children under 14 and 92 percent of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed with guns.[13] In 2010, gun violence cost U.S. taxpayers approximately $516 million in direct hospital costs.
In comparison to 22 other nations with similar levels of development the US has gun-related murders 2,500% higher. With half the population of this group the US has 4/5s of the gun murders and 9/10s of the gun murders of women. The same for children under 14, all courtesy of the adamant stance of the modern NRA that runs completely counter to what the organization used to back. And the current head of the NRA is being incredibly well paid by gun makers to make sure that about 8 million new guns will be added to the streets of America lying that this makes Americans safer. Just ask all those people at the concert in Las Vegas, or at the school in Florida or so many other places that have been the scenes of domestic acts of terror only made possible by the weapons the NRA has ensured will be available to almost anyone. You can't add that many weapons to any already vast pool of weapons and not have some end up in the hands of people who use them to slaughter others. Simple statistics ensure this, arming teachers will not prevent this, it will just escalate the war. Mass shooters will just buy kevlar and get even more powerful weapons to outgun teachers who are simply not trained to respond to their attacks. And placing a de facto police force in the class rooms of America will create the tyrannical state the NRA claims it is fighting against. The NRA is creating the conditions it claims it needs to provide more weapons to defeat. Following the NRA and gun makers who now control it is the path to inevitable dissolution of America. Something the obvious government hating anarchists now running the NRA would surely love.

Good to see that some individuals and the corporations they control are making an ethical stand against the twisted organization that Wayne Lapierre and a few others have turned the NRA into.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/24/business/nra-companies-boycott.html?mabReward=ART_TS2&recid=11160DZ7z6DoT16cbeDfMmKaiyv&recp=2&module=WelcomeBackModal&contentCollection=Olympics&region=FixedCenter&action=click&src=recg&pgtype=article
I’ll say it again, this is the kind of ideology that has come to dominate the NRA for the last 40 years.
https://www.salon.com/2013/01/14/the_nra_once_supported_gun_control/

After Carter was re-elected to lead the NRA in 1981, The New York Times reported on Carter’s teenage vigilante killing—and how he changed his first name’s spelling to hide it. At first, he claimed the shooting was by someone else—and then recanted but refused to discuss it. Winkler writes, “the hard-liners in the NRA loved it. Who better to lead them than a man who really understood the value of a gun for self-protection?"
One of the most influential leaders of the new NRA was a vigilante killer, is it any wonder the NRA executive don't seem to give a crap about people taking the law into their own hands and killing people they think have wronged them somehow. These mass killers may be deranged, but the only reason it is so easy for them to get weapons that allow them to kill so many people at once is because the NRA leadership is doing everything it can to put guns in their hands. And in Wayne Lapierre's case he gets paid very well indeed for making sure that there are no effective gun laws anywhere in the US. NRA fanatics like to point to Chicago and say how gun control laws don't prevent gun violence there, but the strict laws that Chicago used to have to limit gun violence have been stripped away entirely because of the NRA. Chicago no longer has strict gun laws precisely because the NRA doesn't want it to have strict gun laws and now gun deaths are off the scales there. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/glanton/ct-met-gun-control-chicago-dahleen-glanton-20171003-story.html
Chicago does not have the strictest gun laws in the country. It’s time for gun lovers to stop spreading that lie. A decade ago that was indeed a title Chicago wore proudly. We were the only major city that still had an ordinance banning residents from keeping a handgun in their home. The handgun ban made us the primary target of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, and in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court forced Chicago to fall into line with the rest of the country. Since then, the courts have peeled off so many layers of our once stellar gun ordinance that it’s barely recognizable. We’re still maneuvering to keep gun stores and shooting ranges from opening in the city limits. But the courts have ruled against us on that, too, so we know it’s just a matter of time.
The NRA wants us all to believe that a wild west "way of the gun" is the only sane way for a society to exist. But back in those days in most western towns with any law people checked their guns with the sheriff. Now most people live in urban centers which the NRA has effectively turned into perpetual shooting galleries by resisting any attempts to enact meaningful guns control laws. Even though that is exactly what earlier NRA leadership did in the past when gun violence was taking civilian lives. Either responsible people will take back control of the NRA from gun fanatics and outright frauds like Lapierre or the organization will fade away. Enough people have died in this insane experiment they have forced on America of allowing almost free access to guns for anyone.

You’re reasoning about something that has nothing to do with reasons. 2nd amendment - has nothing to do with it. Sane laws - nothing to do with it. It’s just another in a long list of symptoms of the disease of modern capitalism.

You're reasoning about something that has nothing to do with reasons. 2nd amendment - has nothing to do with it. Sane laws - nothing to do with it. It's just another in a long list of symptoms of the disease of modern capitalism.
To a degree, but it is tied in with the national identity of America. Which makes it so easy for a huckster like Lapierre to sell to millions of Americans. He clearly doesn't give a crap about human life and will sell almost anything if it will make him rich. You're right, he's not really a 2nd. Amendment patriot, he's a capitalist extremist.
You're reasoning about something that has nothing to do with reasons. 2nd amendment - has nothing to do with it. Sane laws - nothing to do with it. It's just another in a long list of symptoms of the disease of modern capitalism.
To a degree, but it is tied in with the national identity of America. Which makes it so easy for a huckster like Lapierre to sell to millions of Americans. He clearly doesn't give a crap about human life and will sell almost anything if it will make him rich. You're right, he's not really a 2nd. Amendment patriot, he's a capitalist extremist.And the national identity, by design of the modern capitalists, has been molded into extreme consumerism. Don't save (cause savings rates are close to zero) just invest or spend spend spend. Look at how every one has been trained to buy the next hot thing...like the Apple iPhone X+1. Apple Watch, Apple this, that, etc. Latest car, latest gadget, just shut up and buy buy buy.
And the national identity, by design of the modern capitalists, has been molded into extreme consumerism. Don't save (cause savings rates are close to zero) just invest or spend spend spend. Look at how every one has been trained to buy the next hot thing...like the Apple iPhone X+1. Apple Watch, Apple this, that, etc. Latest car, latest gadget, just shut up and buy buy buy.
Sounds like what they refer to as a Balloon.
You're reasoning about something that has nothing to do with reasons. 2nd amendment - has nothing to do with it. Sane laws - nothing to do with it. It's just another in a long list of symptoms of the disease of modern capitalism.
To a degree, but it is tied in with the national identity of America. Which makes it so easy for a huckster like Lapierre to sell to millions of Americans. He clearly doesn't give a crap about human life and will sell almost anything if it will make him rich. You're right, he's not really a 2nd. Amendment patriot, he's a capitalist extremist.And the national identity, by design of the modern capitalists, has been molded into extreme consumerism. Don't save (cause savings rates are close to zero) just invest or spend spend spend. Look at how every one has been trained to buy the next hot thing...like the Apple iPhone X+1. Apple Watch, Apple this, that, etc. Latest car, latest gadget, just shut up and buy buy buy. It is mindless and it uses slavery to create slavery. Apple is a good example of this. They pay slave wages to those mining the materials that go into their products, some of them young children. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jan/19/children-as-young-as-seven-mining-cobalt-for-use-in-smartphones-says-amnesty
Children as young as seven are working in perilous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mine cobalt that ends up in smartphones, cars and computers sold to millions across the world, by household brands including Apple, Microsoft and Vodafone, according to a new investigation by Amnesty International.
They still use slaves in China to put their crap products together. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/18/foxconn-life-death-forbidden-city-longhua-suicide-apple-iphone-brian-merchant-one-device-extract
The sprawling factory compound, all grey dormitories and weather-beaten warehouses, blends seamlessly into the outskirts of the Shenzhen megalopolis. Foxconn’s enormous Longhua plant is a major manufacturer of Apple products. It might be the best-known factory in the world; it might also might be among the most secretive and sealed-off. Security guards man each of the entry points. Employees can’t get in without swiping an ID card; drivers entering with delivery trucks are subject to fingerprint scans. A Reuters journalist was once dragged out of a car and beaten for taking photos from outside the factory walls. The warning signs outside – “This factory area is legally established with state approval. Unauthorised trespassing is prohibited. Offenders will be sent to police for prosecution!" – are more aggressive than those outside many Chinese military compounds.
Today, the iPhone is made at a number of different factories around China, but for years, as it became the bestselling product in the world, it was largely assembled at Foxconn’s 1.4 square-mile flagship plant, just outside Shenzhen. The sprawling factory was once home to an estimated 450,000 workers. Today, that number is believed to be smaller, but it remains one of the biggest such operations in the world. If you know of Foxconn, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve heard of the suicides. In 2010, Longhua assembly-line workers began killing themselves. Worker after worker threw themselves off the towering dorm buildings, sometimes in broad daylight, in tragic displays of desperation – and in protest at the work conditions inside. There were 18 reported suicide attempts that year alone and 14 confirmed deaths. Twenty more workers were talked down by Foxconn officials.
And although Apple is hugely profitable, closing in on $1 trillion in value it pays its own retail employees slave wages.
Last year, during his best three-month stretch, Jordan Golson sold about $750,000 worth of computers and gadgets at the Apple Store in Salem, N.H. It was a performance that might have called for a bottle of Champagne — if that were a luxury Mr. Golson could have afforded. “I was earning $11.25 an hour," he said. “Part of me was thinking, ‘This is great. I’m an Apple fan, the store is doing really well.’ But when you look at the amount of money the company is making and then you look at your paycheck, it’s kind of tough." America’s love affair with the smartphone has helped create tens of thousands of jobs at places like Best Buy and Verizon Wireless and will this year pump billions into the economy.
The gun industry in America is no different, it doesn't care about human life in the slightest. The only thing the people running these corporations care about is their profit, and that includes the frauds who shill for them like Lapierre. He wraps the US flag around himself and plays the brave patriot defending Americas from their evil government who wants to steal their guns, but all he really looks at is how many gun sales there are each year and if he helps keep that in the millions of new guns on the streets of America every year then the gun industry keeps sending him huge checks. Profit for murder...

The terror and horror is that looking back at western history, this is how its done.
Believing God is on your side.
Having contempt for others.
Believing everything belongs to you, and what does not, should.
Profits Über Alles and monstrous egos, and zero empathy.
That is our Matrix.
Mindless consumption and doing as we are told.
We are the winners and we best not think about the losers too deeply - lest you become a cynic and outcast.

DougC, gotta figure out to make this more interactive. :cheese:

NRA hate bingo: we decode Wayne LaPierre's loaded rant Dominic Rushe and Sam Morris at the Guardian Thu 22 Feb 2018 LaPierre’s incendiary CPAC speech contained an exhaustive list of his hates – and the things his enemies apparently hate him for. See how many you can spot! Say what you like about Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association. He knows his audience. A week after the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, LaPierre took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington to defend America’s right to bear arms.
The speech was also an opportunity for the audience to play NRA “hate bingo", as LaPierre ticked off an exhaustive – and exhausting – list of the association’s bogeymen and women: Barack Obama, the media, Hollywood, “European-style socialists", George Soros, Mexicans, China, Black Lives Matter and NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem. Having thoroughly triggered his audience, he went on to mention God, family, the flag, capitalism and all those other things his enemies – supposedly – despise. If you want to play hate bingo, see how many key words you can find in the speech. And here’s a selection of the most memorable quotes.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/22/wayne-la-pierre-nra-cpac-hate-bingo

Then there’s this. Seems the NRA rise in wealth and power has a Russian component -
no wonder the Alt-right leans more towards Russia than they do to their homeland America.

Depth Of Russian Politician's Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed March 1, 20189:03 PM ET - Heard on Morning Edition Listen· 5:34 https://www.npr.org/2018/03/01/590076949/depth-of-russian-politicians-cultivation-of-nra-ties-revealed These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January. In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate intelligence committee, the NRA denied any wrongdoing and suggested the FBI is investigating Torshin, not the NRA. Neither the NRA nor Torshin responded to inquiries from NPR. ... Investigators have expressed concern about Russian links to the NRA, one of the most politically polarizing organizations in the U.S. _________ Translation of November 2016 tweet: "For 15 years, I've traveled to the U.S. with official delegations, and more often — privately. In this time, I NEVER HEARD ONE BAD WORD ABOUT RUSSIA!" _________ ... These relationships that he cultivated appeared to open another door. Torshin came to the United States in 2012 as an international election observer and watched as ballots were cast during the Obama-Romney presidential contest in Tennessee. This was possible, he wrote, because of his NRA links. "These revelations suggest that for years the NRA courted a top Putin ally who is now reportedly attracting scrutiny from the FBI," John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told NPR. "NRA leaders still haven't explained their close relationship with Russian officials in Putin's orbit. Until they do, people will continue to wonder what the NRA is hiding." _________ NPR's Alina Selyukh and Audrey McNamara contributed to this story.