While Thousands Died From Gun Violence, The NRA Paid Wayne LaPierre $4 Million

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13,485 people in the U.S. died from gun violence in 2015, and the NRA handed their top shill Wayne LaPierre $4 million for helping make it happen.
Image: cc: 2014 Gage Skidmore (with money and background added).

13,485 people in the U.S. died from gun violence in 2015, and the NRA handed their top shill Wayne LaPierre $4 million for helping make that happen.

That’s right. The Washington Post reports the National Rifle Association’s executive VP and CEO got this “hefty bump in pay” sometime between 2014 and 2015.

According to the organization’s 990 tax form, the NRA reported that LaPierre made $5,110,985 in annual compensation from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015. LaPierre made $985,885 in 2014. The vast majority of the salary jump, according to the NRA, was due to the payout of a $3.7 million retirement plan.

And that was just a retirement payout. He also made $1,090,515 in salary for 2015, plus a $150,000 bonus. Why? Most likely because under Wayne LaPierre’s leadership, the pro-gun group has raked in beaucoup bucks despite a “dip in contributions” from members.

According to the tax filing, the NRA recorded a bump in total revenue in 2015 but a dip in contributions. The NRA brought in more than $336 million in total gross revenue in 2015, an increase of about $26 million from the year before. According to the filing, contributions to the NRA dropped to just under $95 million in 2015, down from $103 million in 2014.

A San Francisco attorney and partner at the Trucker Huss law firm insists these kind of retirement plans for top dogs like Wayne LaPierre are “fairly typical.”But he was talking about companies, and $4 million seems excessive for a group that’s supposedly a non-profit.

But if you see Wayne LaPierre as more of a paid promoter and lobbyist for firearms manufacturers, then it all makes sense. As CNN reported back in 2013, the arms industry funnels “tens of millions of dollars” to the NRA.

Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.

Oh, and in 2010, the NRA also raked in $20.9 million — 10 percent of their revenue — from the ads gun companies run in their various publications.

Watch: Democracy Now! reports on the NRA’s  financial ties to the $12 billion firearms industry.

The National Rifle Association launched in 1871 to encourage shooting sports and good marksmanship. Mic notes that for most of the 20th century, they also supported civil rights, gun control, wildlife conservation, and gun safety training.

Wayne LaPierre became the NRA’s executive VP and CEO in 1991. Under his leadership, they’ve become a hard-right tool of the gun manufacturers. Now, the NRA staunchly opposes all gun safety laws, no matter how many of us die from accidental and on-purpose shootings.

While most of us mourned the tragic mass shooting of 20 children and six adults in the Newtown Massacre in 2012, Wayne LaPierre blamed the mass murder on “gun-free zones.” The fact that an angry, mentally unstable young man like Adam Lanza never should have been able to collect such a huge stockpile of weapons was ignored. Instead of calling for gun reform, LaPierre called for armed police officers in our schools.

And despite all the mass shootings followed by calls for tougher gun laws in the years that followed, the NRA continues blocking them through their lobbying efforts. In 2015, nine GOP senators who are bought and paid for by the NRA voted against not one but three gun bills in 2015. As it turns out, they all received $1.2 million or more each for a total of $22,596,399 over the course of their careers. Here’s a list of the senators and the contributions they received from the National Rifle Association.

  1. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): $1,262,189
  2. Roy Blunt (R-MO): $1,433,952
  3. Pat Roberts (R-KS): $1,584,153
  4. Tom Cotton (R-AR): $1,968,714
  5. David Perdue (R-GA): $1,997,512
  6. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): $2,867,074
  7. Joni Ernst (R-IA): $3,124,773
  8. Cory Gardner (R-CO): $3,939,199
  9. Thom Tillis (R-NC): $4,418,833

No wonder the NRA’s president Allan Cors insists that Wayne LaPierre’s hefty compensation is “extraordinarily well-deserved.” However, Erika Soto Lamb from Everytown for Gun Safety begs to differ.

“Responsible gun owners and dues-paying NRA members — the vast majority of whom support common-sense policies to keep guns out of the wrong hands — should ask themselves if this is really how they want their hard-earned money spent.”

Featured image: cc 2013 Gage Skidmore via Flickr (with money added).

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