Morning Joe | March 14, 2013
>>> look at the sunrise over washington, d.c. wake up, everyone. welcome to " morning joe ." here with us now is assistant managing editor of bloomberg business week, paul barrett. the author of glock. the rise of america's gun. now out in paperback. paul has written a cover story for the latest issue of bloomberg business week entitled who is afraid of the nra ? gun makers, that's who. let's start right there, paul . talk about the power of the nra and that is influenced in a way where perhaps you wouldn't first expect.
>> yeah, one of the myths that has cropped up in our current round of debate about gun control is the nra goes to such extremes it's carrying water for the industries and if anything the opposite is true. this is a unique situation where the lobbying organization actually calls the shots in the industry that benefits is very much subservient to that lobbying industry and complicated reasons for that.
>> how do they wheel that power?
>> they pewheel the power in a couple of ways. the threat to potentially organize consumer boycotts of any gun company that gets out of line is so tremendous that the gun companies stay in line. secondly the nra are coming four guns, they coming for tomorrow is the gun industry's biggest selling point and that is what drives gun owners back to the gun stores so the gun industry is willing to stand down.
>> >> are you suggesting if you're the gun maker of smith or glock or whichever one it is and you have a different issue on gun control going through congress at the moment, background checks, controls on magazines, you can't get those out there? it seems to me implausible if you're a company that makes guns and you want to see something happening in congress right now, you're not going to make smur that opinion is known?
>> it may seem plausible to but that is the case. in 2000 when we had our last serious round of gun control debate near the end of the clinton administration smith and wesson did that. they tried to step out, make basically a big compromise with the clinton administration . the nra opposed this. the company was almost destroyed in the space of six months. the ownership of the company changed. the company apologized. it retracted a settlement it had reached with the clinton administration and accepted back into the fold. this may sound implausible but the gun industry isamerican gun politics i s unique.
>> how did we miss this story? it seems to me i don't recall reading any sustained stories about, you know, the pressure.
>> you, obviously, haven't been following me for the last 15 years.
>> the nra is an organization, a lobbying organization almost unlike any other in washington. it gets its power from gun owners , not from the industry itself.
>> and from a unique strategy, no exaggerate radiatiion.
>> they try it to marble opinion on that basis. this is an industry that is off the wall.
>> all right. jon, real quick.
>> i think leach folks wonder why there is not a strategy the one undertaken against the tobacco companies . would you explain why on the liability question?
>> sure. the strategy was tried and it failed. immediately in the wake of the litigation against the tobacco industry , the very same lawyers joined up with a different group of government and state and local officials and also with the clinton and sued the gun industry. two things happen. the legal theory didn't work as well because unlike cigarettes used by the victim in the case of a gun a third party. a criminal, insane person, a suicide who steps in the middle and that breaks the chain of causation. second and more important the nra stepped in and managed to get enacted at the state and federal level laws that extinguished those stories.
>> who is afraid of the nra , the cover story of bloomberg business week. great to have you on the show. more " morning joe " when we