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Firepower: How the NRA Turned Gun Owners into a Political Force

Matthew LaCombe | Assistant Professor, Barnard College

Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM



This chapter documents the party-group alignment of the NRA and the GOP, detailing the constellation of factors that collectively facilitated this alignment. Building directly on chapters 3 and 4, it shows how the NRA’s cultivation of a group social identity and ideology laid a foundation for its eventual incorporation into the Republican coalition. The chapter also highlights the institutional conditions that catalyzed this process, including the changing incentives of both the NRA and GOP politicians. Finally, the chapter explores the intensification of the NRA’s relationship with the Republican Party over the past few decades, including its relationship with Donald Trump, and reflects on what the NRA case tells us about the nature of party coalitions.

The American Politics Seminar is a year-long speaker series that features leading scholars in American Politics. Invited scholars present cutting-edge research and engage in lively debate with faculty and graduate students. The seminar is made possible partially through a generous grant from the Bankard Fund for Political Economy at the University of Virginia. The Seminar is organized by Justin Kirkland. Papers are generally sent to invitees in the week or so prior to each talk.

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