The House just passed a measure that will allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to carry across state lines, regardless of the gun laws in that state. Considering this is the first measure passed concerning gun-control since the deadly mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, it’s highly indicative of just how much power the National Rifle Association has over gun-control legislation in this country.
Instead of common sense gun-control measures, they seem to want to destabilize the nation further with even MORE guns on the streets.
American Legislative Exchange Council
The NRA works hand in hand with an organization called ALEC. Everyone needs to know about ALEC. As a matter of fact, ALEC and the NRA drafted a version of the very bill the House just passed. Thanks to ALEC, corporations are drafting bills to line their pockets which then get turned into law in every state in the nation.
Read on to find out exactly what ALEC is and how the organization is working with the NRA to undermine your safety and the safety of everyone you hold dear. This cannot be overstated. No corporation should have this much power and thanks to ALEC, hundreds of them do.
MORE GUNS MEAN MORE MASS SHOOTINGS
To reiterate: The United States is currently being held hostage by the NRA, and our “fearless” leaders continue to tighten the ropes.
We don’t know enough about mass shootings, but one fact remains clear: More guns on the streets equals more mass shootings. Period. So the House passing this latest measure is doing nothing but advancing an agenda constructed by the NRA all while lining lawmaker’s pockets for their re-election campaigns.
This is part five of a series documenting the sheer power the NRA has over gun-control legislation, or lack thereof, in this country. Part one introduced the topic. Part two is an eye-opening look at the history of the NRA and how they alone changed the meaning of the Second Amendment.
Part three takes an honest look at popular myths versus facts surrounding mass shootings. Part four is an overview of just how a Congressman and the NRA shut down research all over the country into gun violence, the damage of which remains to this day.
In this part, we look at ALEC as an organization and how it works hand in hand with the NRA to funnel laws into states that have directly resulted in irreparable harm.
ALEC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich and a few other ultra-conservative right-wing Republicans who were frustrated that the laws weren’t going the direction they wanted. They realized that in order to create the most change, they needed to start at the state level.
According to ALECexposed.org:
“ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.”
Members of ALEC buy “seats” to earn the privilege of getting on the task forces with the politicians. Corporations pay for each seat; then they create said task forces and pump out bills explicitly designed for one purpose: increasing their bottom line.
Bob Edgar of Common Cause said:
“Dozens of corporations are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation that is being made into law in statehouses coast to coast, with no regard for the public interest. This is proof positive of the depth and scope of the corporate reach into our democratic processes.”
The task forces contain many legislators. Corporate representatives sit right beside State Representatives and State Senators and hand in hand they craft laws that affect every American. The organization describes itself as bipartisan, but it is almost entirely made up of ultra-conservative right-wing Republicans pushing an agenda everyone is growing entirely too familiar with.
They vote on this “model legislation” as though seated in a state house. The legislators then take the bills into their own state, copy and paste them into a new document and present it as though it were their own idea.
There have even been some lawmakers caught cutting and pasting poorly and including ALEC’s mission statement right in their bill.
Until recently the NRA was a co-chair of the ALEC “Task Force on Public Safety and Elections,” which pumps out firearm-related bills. There are still representatives from the NRA on the task force, including a lobbyist by the name of Tara Reilly-Mica.
HOW DO THEY GET LAWMAKERS TO Capitulate?
For ALEC to remain effective, they need to keep lawmakers in the organization and engaged. How do they do this?
With extravagant gifts and trips, the politicians could never afford otherwise, of course. ALEC uses something they call “scholarship” funds to wine and dine them and their entire families as well. There are also donations directly into the lawmaker’s campaign funds as well.
Once the lawmakers are properly “lubricated” from all the massages and scotch, they sit down and craft laws side by side with corporate lobbyists, including voting together.
According to the Huffington Post ALEC even asked some lawmakers to sign a loyalty pledge… To ALEC.
Suffice it to say; there are hundreds of lawmakers that happily take these trips and then like good little corporate lapdogs, they bring them home at the end of their vacation and pretend they had an epiphany while they put their name at the top of the bill where it used to say ALEC.
STAND YOUR GROUND
ALEC was exposed to some extent in 2012 after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Martin was a teenager walking home from the store armed with nothing more than a can of tea and a bag of skittles.
George Zimmerman was never arrested because he claimed self-defense. Officially, they say that he never had an opportunity to retreat, so Stand Your Ground wasn’t a factor. However, the jury invoked the Stand Your Ground law as part of the reason they acquitted Zimmerman, even if wrongfully so. In Florida Stand Your Ground is synonymous with self-defense, and that’s the way the jury saw it.
Brina Milikowsky, chief strategy officer at Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, told Vice News that:
“Florida is the most extreme example and was the original brainchild of an NRA lobbyist there, and that version of the law was then exported out across different states. The fact that the gun lobby has pushed Stand Your Ground laws and is trying to upend centuries of self defense laws can be seen as part of their larger agenda to push the presence of guns in everyday life, and either weaken or dismantle the existing public safety standard about responsible gun ownership.”
Stand Your Ground is a law that essentially allows anyone to get away with shooting another person merely because they felt threatened. They don’t even need to be in their own home or on their own property, either.
Someone can literally be in the park and decide they feel threatened and open fire. Stand Your Ground immunizes them from prosecution. The law even goes so far as to put the burden of proof on the prosecutors to prove that a self-defense claim is NOT credible.
There are Stand Your Ground laws on the books in 24 states currently. ALEC is the organization that literally wrote that law alongside the NRA. And that is only the beginning.
OTHER ALEC LAWS
As mentioned previously, ALEC wrote a version of the concealed carry reciprocity bill that the House just passed. They are also responsible for a few others as follows:
- After the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, ALEC created legislation that will allow college students to carry firearms on campus, despite the research that shows that will only make things more dangerous.
- Federal law prohibits the sale of machine guns. However, ALEC and the NRA tried to push legislation that would bar cities from banning them. In other provisions of the same bill, they also pushed to prevent cities from outlawing armor-piercing bullets.
- ALEC and the NRA wrote legislation that opposes waiting periods for mental health and criminal background checks.
It is easy to see that ALEC and the NRA do NOT have anyone’s safety in mind with “model legislation” like that being the norm.
As you can see, ALEC is partnering with the NRA and writing the laws that are making American streets less safe all while operating in relative secrecy. Share the hell out of this article to help see that change.
After the killing of Trayvon Martin, ALEC moved, finally, into the limelight, and a few corporate sponsors left the fray, including WalMart. However, they are still holding strong with many corporate sponsors still on board.
Click here to visit ALECexposed.org for detailed lists of everything from a full list of corporate sponsors to the lawmakers that are working with them. There is also a complete list of all the laws ALEC is responsible for crafting.
ALEC says that it has over 1,000 bills introduced each year. One in five of them become law. It’s time this organization is exposed, before more people have to die because of the irresponsible laws designed not to keep us safe, only to line the pockets of the already rich.
Correction: An earlier version of this article neglected to state that the Stand Your Ground defense was not used at trial. The story has been updated to include this information and clarifies the reason for acquittal.
Feature Image via VisualHunt.