The NRA’s Thrill Killers

Photograph Source: Hesham Usama Khan – CC BY-SA 4.0

Recently, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued four current or former NRA executives for “illegal financial conduct,” according to NBC. Among the charges were that Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” of complimentary safaris in Africa.

People often forget the NRA’s fundamental role of promoting “sportsmen.”

A few years ago the NRA and Safari Club International (SCI) worked to defeat an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the House of Representatives that would have banned the import of sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada. It would clash with SCI’s “Bears of the World” and other killing competitions. After the 2015 death of Cecil the lion, many major airlines banned the transport of such trophies.

“Because of our longstanding support for America’s rich hunting heritage and sportsmen’s rights, the National Rifle Association weighed today’s vote [on polar bears] very heavily as a factor when deciding endorsements and grades for the 2008 election cycle,” threatened former chief NRA lobbyist Chris Cox. It was a warning to any lawmakers who had gone soft on polar bears since the NRA gives lawmakers grades.

To cement its access to the old boys network in Congress, the NRA funds the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, called a “charity” but “little more than the social directorate of the National Rifle Association,” says the Tampa Bay Times. At a soiree thrown by the Foundation, lawmakers got to swoon over blowing away wild hogs in Myrtle Beach, S.C with silencers. Whee!

The late former President George H.W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and the late Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf were all proud member of SCI and loved lion hunting so much, they wrote letters to African leaders to keep trophy hunting legal.

A few years ago, the former NRA Executive Director John Sigler was photographed participating in a canned pigeon hunt at the Philadelphia Gun Club in Bensalem, PA. The caged pigeons, tossed into the air and shot by he-men, are not killed for food but “rather for the hunting equivalent of dog-fighting,” says the Daily Kos. They are left “to die agonizingly over the course of hours and days.” A video by the well-respected group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) depicts the former NRA director Sigler pulverizing pigeons for “fun.”

Then there’s the NRA’s proud board member Ted Nugent who reportedly tweeted, a few years ago “I took my machine gun in the helicopter in the Texas hill country – me and my buddy ‘Pigman’ “his name is ‘Pigman’ – I’m the swine czar. I killed 455 hogs with my machine gun. I did it for Bill Maher and all those other animal rights freaks out there.”

Nugent is a draft dodger, sex offender, pedophile and racist who wears a Confederate flag and called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” Yet he is a board member of the NRA.

Of course the poster child for sick thrill killing is gun lover, NRA lover and former Vice President Dick Cheney whose hunting party killed 417 pheasants at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, PA in 2003, Cheney personally killing 70 pheasants and an undisclosed number of ducks. Three years later, on another thrill killing adventure, Cheney went to Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club in New York state where a reporter photographed a Confederate flag displayed. What? Racism and gun extremism linked?

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).