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Will NRA follow the path of Big Tobacco?

March 8, 2018

The Christian Science Monitor,


March 6, 2018-

A big industry defended by powerful lobbyists. A product popular with grassroots supporters but reviled by critics as lethal. A nationwide debate that touches on deep aspects of American culture.

Guns in 2018? No, tobacco in 1998.

Twenty years ago, a historic settlement between tobacco firms and 46 states shackled the smoking trade in the United States. The industry agreed to pay states billions of dollars in damages, and to curtail much of its marketing. Tobacco dollars funded a new national anti-smoking advocacy campaign. Smoking rates in the US declined – and continue to go down.

Could that public health success be a template for anti-gun action? Some activists are now renewing calls for national gun-control organizations to focus on the tools used against tobacco, from liability lawsuits to gritty ad campaigns intended to “deglamorize” consumer usage. The theory: Back in the day, Big Tobacco seemed impervious against attack – until, suddenly, it wasn’t. Perhaps the same holds true for the National Rifle Association today.

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