The National Rifle Association claims it exists to protect the freedom of Americans, but critics say it directly violated that principle if allegations are true that it accepted illegal funding from Russia to help elect Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
The NRA is under increasing pressure after its response to the school shooting in Florida, with activists taking on the massive lobbying organization for standing in the way of stricter gun control measures. There is an active campaign, led mostly by the student survivors of last week’s shooting, to lead a boycott of companies and organizations that support the NRA.
This comes amid a growing investigation into the NRA’s funding. As McClatchy reported, the organization is facing a federal investigation over whether a top banker with close ties to the Kremlin illegally sent money through the NRA to help Trump win the presidency.
The report noted that the FBI has focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank.
The allegation has critics seething that the NRA would seemingly violate its core mission to protect American freedom.
“NRA members should be outraged if even a portion of this alarming story is true. The NRA tells its members that it defends America’s freedoms,” Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told the Independent.
“If the NRA is actually a front for Russian interests and interfered with our elections, actively or passively, then they have undermined the very democratic freedoms they purport to represent. We can only wonder how many true patriots will decide that this is the last straw and give up their NRA memberships.”
The Russia investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has already made significant progress in recent weeks, with indictments against some of Trump’s top officials including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
While it is not yet clear how far along the FBI investigation of the NRA might be or what potential charges could come from the investigation, the organization is already facing considerable pressure in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida that claimed 17 lives. A group of students has emerged as anti-gun activists, and the aim is directly on the NRA and the role it has played in stopping gun reform.
The campaign includes an active boycott of the NRA, one that has led a number of large companies to sever ties with the organization. As Bloomberg noted, on Friday a lone a series of organizations including Hertz, First National Bank of Omaha, and Lifelock owner Symantec all announced they would no longer be affiliated with the NRA.