Washington: The National Rifle Association (NRA) is throwing its
considerable PR weight behind the push to arm America's commercial
The NRA's EVP Wayne LaPierre said his organization decided to fight for
the controversial measure, a result of the September 11 attacks, only
after receiving pleas from airline pilots themselves. "We were besieged
by telephone calls from pilots asking for our help," he said. "They felt
like they were out there alone and that everybody's overlooking them in
The NRA has since devoted a great deal of effort to the cause. LaPierre
estimated he has done 50 press interviews on the topic, and NRA magazine
1st Freedom - which goes to all four million members - features a cover
story on the subject in this month's issue.
"This field is already one of the most highly trained and disciplined of
any job field in the US," said LaPierre. "We are trusting them with
$50 million to $100 million aircraft and 300 lives every
time they take off. It seems the least we can do is trust them with the
opportunity to have a firearm as a last resort in defending themselves
and their passengers."
LaPierre noted that his group is not specifically endorsing any of the
various bills regarding the topic circulating on Capitol Hill. "They all
get to the same objective in different ways," he said.
The NRA was ranked the most influential lobbying force in Washington by
Fortune magazine this year, and spends anywhere from $50 million
to $100 million on PR and advertising each year.