More on Michael Bellesiles’ “NRA Conspiracy”

From Jim Lindgren, who was one of the scholars who helped take Armed America down. He takes down the notion that NRA had anything to do with Bellesiles “swiftboating” with some cold hard facts.

After the Bellesiles affair was over, I asked a law professor who had in the past received funding from the NRA why the NRA was so savvy to stay out of it and let the academics handle it in the normal way. The answer I got is that the NRA wasn’t savvy so much as it is suspicious of academics, whom they neither understand nor trust. If the NRA pays for something, they want to control the message — and most academics won’t take money on that basis.

There is certainly truth to this, but I think it should be clarified that NRA does fund and has funded quite a bit of academic work by researchers. NRA is more wary of outsiders, I think, than academics. Trusting outsiders in politics is risky, and NRA is no exception when it comes to keeping it in the family.

But they probably take this a bit too far. Clayton Cramer has always struck me as the kind of guy who would be a valuable addition to the NRA family, yet I don’t really think NRA has made any attempt to reach out to him or try to work with him. It tends to work the other way, mostly, and I think that can be short sighted at times.

3 thoughts on “More on Michael Bellesiles’ “NRA Conspiracy””

  1. When I was unemployed last year, I tried to work something out with NRA, and I made some contacts with other research organizations as well. If someone could have paid me $24,000 a year plus health insurance, if I could have stayed on my mountaintop, and continued the sort of research that went into my several recent law review articles full-time. But NRA isn’t that rich of an organization. I am forced to conclude that what I do just isn’t that valuable to the cause.

  2. For a long time I was not a member of the NRA, because I did not want my points dismissed out of hand. And I’m still a registered democrat for the same reason. Just a tool I like to have in the toolbox.

    Clayton- At least you have fanboys like me.

  3. Please Sebastian, Lindgren helped take down ARMING America.

    ARMED America is Clayton’s book.

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