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National Rifle Association

Brooklyn Grant, 13, from Spokane, Missouri, looks down range at the Student Air Rifle Program Tournament at Clever High School on Nov. 14, 2019. Brooklyn took first place in the middle school individuals girls category.
Daniel Shular | Missourian

While the sun is still up, gunshots ring out as Poplar Bluff High School's trapshooting team tries to get in a few extra rounds.

Head coach Sandy Pike gives advice as a new member prepares to aim his shotgun and attempt to shoot a clay target out of the air. She tells him to lift up his weapon, and, when he's ready, say the word to make the disc fly:

"Pull!"

The competitive trap season might be over, but that's not stopping the team on a Saturday evening in November.

Since starting in 2010, the trap team has grown from eight to about 30 members, and Pike said that's thanks to outside funding from the National Rifle Association. It's one of 80 K-12 and 4-H programs the NRA Foundation has supported over the years in Missouri.

Among the popular gun policy proposals raised in the aftermath of shootings like those in Sandy Hook, Parkland and now El Paso and Dayton, the call for “red flag” laws has become a common refrain.

But like universal background checks and closing the “gun show loophole”, “red flag” laws aren’t self-explanatory.

Commentary: Another massacre

Feb 24, 2019

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 11, 2011 - The attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life, the murder of six citizens and the wounding of 13 more is surely a dreadful event, but hardly unimaginable or unthinkable. Indeed, if anything the tragic event in Tucson was in some sense foreseeable.

Of course I don't mean that the bloodshed that occurred a few days ago in Arizona was bound to happen then and there. But I do mean that the history, culture, policy and politics of this country -- the socio-political context -- make such violence both possible and predictable.

The NRA Wasn't Always Against Gun Restrictions

Oct 10, 2017
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Some have described the National Rifle Association’s decision to endorse Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster over GOP hopeful Eric Greitens as surprising or out of the blue. But for people who pay attention to how the group endorses candidates, Koster’s endorsement was actually quite predictable.

That’s because the NRA typically backs candidates with definitive voting records (like Koster) over political newcomers (like Greitens). It’s exactly what happened in 2012, when the NRA backed Koster’s re-election bid for attorney general over Republican nominee Ed Martin.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been less than two weeks since Missouri voters chose nominees for governor. And it’s fair to say that neither candidate wasted much time in fashioning their general election message — or sharply questioning their opponent’s worthiness.

This reporter spent the past few days watching and listening to Chris Koster and Eric Greitens' post-primary speeches. And from what the two men are saying on the stump, Missourians are in for a very contentious campaign — and discourse that may appear familiar.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The National Rifle Association hasn't been shy about touting Missouri-based bills that earned its support.

When Gov. Matt Blunt signed the so-called Castle Doctrine and “Hunting Heritage Protection Areas Act” bills, NRA lobbyist Chris Cox joined the Republican chief executive on his  signing tour. Cox said in a prepared statement: “I can’t think of a better early celebration of the 4th of July than by the signing into law of two important bills that reaffirm freedom.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 13, 2012 - Mitt Romney tried to convince a sometimes skeptical meeting of the National Rifle Association Friday that his commitment to fighting for Second Amendment rights is genuine, strong and long-held.