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Former NRA Lobbyist Visits RC

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Former National Rifle Association (NRA) representative, Richard Feldman, gave a lecture called “Behind Enemy Lines: Guns, Politics, and Public Policy.” Feldman’s point was to explain both sides of the gun control debate and demystify some elements that have been portrayed negatively by both sides. He also discussed his work with the NRA and how he moved out of the lobbying industry to look for compromise. The event was sponsored by the Student Firearms Association and the Colket Center.   

Feldman is a lawyer by training and also worked for a while in law enforcement.  He was a White House appointee of President Ronald Reagan, being the NRA regional political director for the Northeast. Leading other political fights, Feldman fought against the Brady Bill, later to accept parts of it, and worked with President Bill Clinton on negotiating child trigger locks on handguns. Now out of lobbying officially, Feldman is a speaker for reasonable debate about gun control policies. He is also the author of the book Richochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist that talks about his time in the NRA. 

“Guns are about explaining a lot of things in the American experience,” noted Feldman at the beginning of his talk.

According to Feldman, almost half of households in the U.S. own a firearm. That number equates to about 110-120 million gun owners. Most of the uses for these firearms are hunting, sport, self-defense, and collecting. His point is that dangerous and deranged people will commit nefarious acts and trying to stop them by restricting gun ownership may not be the best solution.

 “I made the mistake that millions of Americans make in equating gun control with crime control,” Feldman admitted.