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 wasnâ€™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 â€” and most academics wonâ€™t take money on thatÂ 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.