The National Rifle Association is known for being brash to its critics. But they’re apparently running scared this week as their ratings of lawmakers mysteriously disappeared. Are they worried those ratings could be used against them by those same critics?
In the past, NRA members could use a drop-down menu to see where lawmakers stood on gun issues. These ratings ranked from "A" to "F," similar to a grading scale used in school report cards.
But as The Washington Post noted earlier this week, that option no longer exists — a supposed “IT glitch,” according to spokeswoman Jennifer Baker.
“Nothing has changed with our archives,” she explained.
But another unnamed source within the organization said that was untrue. Those grades were removed because “our enemies were using that,” that source explained.
When questioned by Talking Points Memo, Baker said, “the old grades are no longer relevant” given that the grades are used as an election guide for NRA members.
Perhaps the NRA is recognizing that attitudes around guns are evolving across the country. A recent Public Policy Polling poll shows that nearly 9-in-10 Americans support stronger background checks, and 60 percent support banning assault weapons.
More than half of Americans don’t think arming teachers is a way to stop mass shootings, and a majority have positive views of high school students leading protests favoring stricter gun laws.
That same type of approval is not found for the NRA. While 39 percent of Americans have a positive view of the pro-gun group, 45 percent view the NRA as “unfavorable,” with 15 percent saying they’re unsure.
Perhaps sensing this pessimistic view of their group, the NRA may have pulled these old ratings down, hoping that their efforts to expose pro-gun control lawmakers in the past can’t be used as a tool to bring down pro-gun candidates they support in November.
Whatever the case may be, Americans are waking up to the realities within our society, which include the unique problem in our nation of mass shootings taking place on an all-too-frequent basis. Hopefully, a change in leadership in Congress can come about this November, one that is more reflective of the people’s needs and wishes rather than the gun lobby’s.