AP’s Nick Riccardi reports a fact that probably won’t surprise you:
Denver Public Schools this week decided to reject charitable grants from the NRA, but there’s another Denver-based organization that’s eager for them — the conservative Independence Institute.
The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute is one of the top recipients of charitable NRA grants, according to an Associated Press analysis of the NRA Foundation’s public tax records. The think tank received $241,000 from the foundation in 2016, the last year for which data is available. The institute reported receiving a total of $2 million in grants and donations that year.
The size of the Independence Institute’s grant is large enough to make Colorado the state with the fourth largest amount of NRA charitable donations, with $293,000 in grants. That places it only behind two much larger states — California and Texas — and North Carolina, home to Speedway Children’s Charities, which has received the largest NRA donation at $425,000.
In 2013, Colorado became Ground Zero in the nation’s long debate over gun policy when we passed a set of landmark gun safety laws in response to the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado in July of 2012. The Independence Institute led the fight against those bills, which culminated in the video you can see above–Jon Caldara warning his supporters that if the bill to limit magazine capacity were to pass, “almost all guns in Colorado will never be able to get a magazine again.” Unfounded hyperbole like Caldara’s helped work Colorado gun owners into a low-information frenzy, leading to two successful recall elections against Democratic Senators in swing districts and a third resigning from office before she could be targeted.
And then within a year, once gun owners realized they could still buy all the guns and magazines they wanted and the sky had not fallen, Democrats retook both seats they lost in 2013. Colorado’s common-sense gun laws remain on the books, and are starting to look like models of their own to other states and even federally as the issue of gun violence nationally has caught up with Colorado’s unfortunate experience.
As for Jon Caldara, he has no credibility–but the NRA’s money cushions the blow.
Anyway, next time you see Caldara or his “Second Amendment expert” Dave Kopel running interference against the next proposal to reduce gun violence, remember that they’re on the gun lobby’s payroll in a big way.