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Posts Tagged ‘National Rifle Association’

Most Americans Disagree with NRA But Still Believe It ‘Represents Their Views’

National Rifle AssociationA Quinnipac poll released this morning serves as evidence of a forceful PR/advocacy/political lobbying campaign’s ability to shape public perceptions of a brand. In short, a majority of Americans say that the National Rifle Association “represents their views” on gun control issues despite disagreeing with some of the organization’s most fundamental positions. What’s going on here?

Key points:

  • The NRA recently came out against proposed legislation that would require universal background checks for all individuals looking to purchase weapons in any setting.
  • This is a messaging shift for the organization, which once strongly supported these checks but now claims they would lead to a “national gun registry” and eventually empower a “tyrannical” government to tax and even confiscate weapons from legal gun owners.
  • The Quinnipac poll finds that an overwhelming 92% of Americans support stronger universal background checks.
  • A majority of the public also supports a proposed ban on the sale of assault weapons and a ban on the sale of “high capacity” magazines (the NRA very strongly opposes both of these restrictions).
  • And yet, when it comes to gun control, the public also believes that the NRA better reflects their own views than President Obama (46% to 43%).

It would appear that the public is confused about exactly what the NRA is–and the policies it advocates.

What conclusions can PR strategists draw from this survey?

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NRA Releases Statement, Promises ‘Contributions’

This afternoon, The National Rifle Association‘s press team finally broke its three-day silence with an email that promises a major press conference on Friday and vaguely hints at the group’s willingness to contribute to the national debate over gun control (yeah right). The email reads:

The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.

We’re very interested to find out which “meaningful contributions” the NRA has in mind. This time, we have a feeling these contributions won’t be limited to a collection of tall tales about how responsible gun owners must protect themselves from a fascistic government hell-bent on confiscating their legal tools of self-defense.

NRA’s Media Team Goes Silent After Newtown Tragedy

National Rifle AssociationFriday’s horrific violence in Newtown, Connecticut, understandably dominated every corner of the American media this weekend.

Many citizens (most prominently President Obama) spoke of taking every available step to prevent similar shootings in the future while others warned against politicizing the tragedy. Quite a few Americans also had energetic debates about gun control, both online and off. Even West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who built a campaign around disagreeing with his party’s leaders on gun rights, suggested that the nation must now have a “sensible” dialogue on gun control.

Nearly every business and organization in the country, from The National School Board to a group representing the families of Virginia Tech shooting victims, made some sort of official statement. Yet the nonprofit at the center of America’s relationship with guns was conspicuously silent: The National Rifle Association has not released an official statement or tweet since the tragedy, and its Facebook page is no longer visible today. While officials at both the NRA and Facebook have not responded to requests for comment, bloggers at TechCrunch speculated that the group took its page offline in order to “avoid hosting flame wars” between commentors on opposing sides of the gun control issue. Knowing the nature of online debates as well as we do, we think that was a very good idea.

We sympathize with the NRA’s position from a PR perspective:

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