Gun Laws & Legislation

Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Excessive Lobbying’ Tax Misses Her Intended Target: The NRA

(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed legislation that will prohibitively tax what she calls “excessive lobbying” might miss her intended target in the National Rifle Association.

The Democratic presidential candidate has made her crusade against lobbying and big money donors a major part of her campaign narrative, but the donor that she would most like to shut down is the NRA, the Washington Examiner reported Saturday.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“What is so badly broken in this democracy that something that the overwhelming majority of Americans want to see done doesn’t get done?” Warren told a crowd of supporters in Las Vegas this month, the Examiner noted. “And the answer is there’s too much power in the hands of the gun industry and the gun lobby, and we’ve got to fight them and we’ve got to break that.” (RELATED: Dems Talk Gun Control On CNN Town Halls, Harris Promises Executive Action)

Warren’s answer was the “gun violence prevention” plan that she spoke at length about during a summer of 2019 that was punctuated by hugely publicized mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. She has also said that she will raise the tax on guns if she becomes the next president but won’t say exactly if she supports government confiscation of firearms.

The senator targeted the NRA as she promised to “break the NRA’s stranglehold on Congress by passing sweeping anti-corruption legislation and eliminating the filibuster so that our nation can no longer be held hostage by a small group of well-financed extremists who have already made it perfectly clear that they will never put the safety of the American people first.”

But Warren’s plan to punish lobbyists who spend more than $500,000 with a starting tax rate of 35% wouldn’t affect the NRA, the Examiner reported. (RELATED: Democrats Immediately Demand Control After Las Vegas Shooting)

The NRA, which spent over $5 million selling Second Amendment rights to the federal government, is considered tax-exempt because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers it to be a “social welfare” group and officially lists it as a 501(c)(4) organization.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association’s NRA-ILA Leadership Forum during the NRA Convention at the Kentucky Exposition Center on May 20, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Stan Oklobdzija, of the Claremont McKenna College, told the Examiner, “You cannot generally deduct contributions to a (c)(4) and these organizations typically don’t need to pay taxes on their earnings.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Ellie Powell reiterated that opinion, saying that groups classified under this tax code include “local volunteer fire departments and homeowner associations.”

“Most are actually not political. So I think the idea is that she likely wouldn’t want to group the truly local non-profit folks in with the other groups,” Powell told the Examiner.