December 19, 2017 — Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, denounced the National Rifle Association (NRA) over news reports that the FBI is investigating whether a Russian banker illegally poured millions of foreign dollars into NRA efforts to get Donald Trump elected President. The individual at the center of the ongoing investigation is Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of Russia’s central bank. Torshin has long established ties to both the NRA and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director:
“If it’s true that the NRA’s leadership used Russian money to help elect a Congressional majority and a President, it would be an insult to NRA members and a threat to our democracy. The NRA was once an organization dedicated to gun safety and sportsmanship, but today it’s been overtaken by lobbyists and has grown increasingly out of touch with the gun owners it claims to represent. The NRA’s executives owe their members – and all Americans – answers to the serious questions that have been raised by this ongoing investigation.”
Prior to the National Rifle Association’s convention in April of 2017, Giffords released a poll finding that gun owners believe that the NRA had become increasingly out of touch with them on gun safety issues and that the NRA had strayed from its original purpose and mission. Key NRA legislative priorities like federally mandated concealed carry reciprocity, deregulating the sale of gun silencers, and eliminating gun-free school zones received very low support from gun owners.
At the same time, Giffords released a report titled, “Dangerous and Deceptive: The State of the Gun Lobby in 2017” that revealed the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda and influence over Congress and President Trump. It also identifies the NRA’s close ties with Russia, including how the NRA opposes sanctions on Russia, continues to face questions like today’s story around the organization’s ties to Russia and Putin allies, and has dismissed the connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin.