Officials from the National Rifle Association have repeatedly said their main goal is to protect the Second Amendment rights of rank-and-file members who like to hunt or want guns for protection. But that claim is at odds with surveys showing that a majority of NRA members and a majority of American gun owners often support restrictions on gun sales and ownership that the NRA has bitterly fought.
For instance, a 2009 poll commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 69 percent of NRA members would support requiring all sellers at gun shows to conduct background checks of prospective buyers, which they do not have to do now and which the NRA has steadfastly argued against.
If lawful gun owners are willing to subject themselves to background checks, why is the association resisting? Its position appears only to serve the interest of gunmakers and dealers who want to increase sales even if it means having dangerous weapons fall into the hands of criminals and violent individuals.
Businesses and special-interest groups often cloak their profit motives in the garb of constitutional rights -- think Big Tobacco and its opposition to restrictions on smoking in public places and bold warnings on cigarette packages.
The Supreme Court has made clear that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to regulations and controls. Yet the NRA clings to its groundless arguments that tough regulations violate the Second Amendment. Many of those arguments serve no purpose other than to increase the sales of guns and bullets.