By Robert Spitzer
The mass shootings at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just 10 days apart, are stirring the now-familiar national debate over guns seen after the tragic 2012 and 2018 school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida.
Inevitably, if also understandably, many Americans are blaming the National Rifle Association for thwarting stronger gun laws that might have prevented these two recent tragedies and many others. And despite the proximity in time and location to the Texas shooting, the NRA is proceeding with its plans to hold its annual convention in Houston on May 27-29, 2022. The featured speakers include former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.
After spending decades researching and writing about how and why the NRA came to hold such sway over national gun policies, I’ve seen this narrative take unexpected turns in the last few years that raise new questions about the organization’s reputation for invincibility.
The NRA’s more than 150-year history spans three distinct eras.