Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) speaks during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (Gage Miskimen/The Daily Iowan)

Jaimes: Ernst, Young clear up misconceptions about NRA


Joni Ernst and David Young address accusations of being bought by the NRA.

Marina Jaimes

As printed in The Daily Iowan Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, recently reacted to claims that they have received millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association.

The video attached shows Ernst explaining that she does not personally see the money given to her by the NRA. In reality, the money spent on ads by the NRA does not go through Ernst at all. Like all outside groups, it is free to spend its money where it sees fit — to support or attack candidates who do not support its cause.

This was just one common misconception about the NRA. Another misconception that was demonstrated through a Cedar Falls gun-control protester’s sign that read, “Fund my education, not the NRA.”

The NRA generates funds through citizens who wish to protect their Second Amendment right in the event that they should have to use their firearm in self-defense. According to CNN “Money,” everyday examples of funding of the NRA include: small town pharmacists, commercial pilots, gunmakers. To state it more simply, donations are made by individuals, not the government.

RELATED: Iowa’s congressional leaders respond to ‘accepting’ NRA money

George Takei, a prominent political celebrity, took to Twitter to showcase his ignorance on the NRA as well.


Despite the common belief that the NRA is an arms dealer, the only items for sale from the NRA are memberships, clothing, accessories, and gear. Takei perpetuates the falsehoods that conservative members of Congress have to fight hard against, confusing many voters on where to focus their concerns with gun legislation.

Ernst and Young unapologetically displayed their support for the Second Amendment in their interview with the DI. Ernst noted that she was a member of the NRA as a private citizen and believes that all citizens should have the right to defend themselves. By today’s standards, her personal experience with the NRA would qualify her as an expert on the topic. However, it is highly unlikely that gun-control advocates will address her personal experience and instead accuse her of being bought by the NRA.

Young defended his stance on the Second Amendment, because to him, “the NRA is not as a large group but as the smaller group of constituents he represents in Iowa’s 3rd District.” He said NRA members are mothers who want to protect their family and hunters who would like to hunt responsibly. He recognized the individual and did not lump their identity into those of murderers with “blood on their hands.”

If the NRA did not exist, there would still stand a Constitution that confidently defends the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The NRA may be an easy target for those angrily and passionately fueled to reform gun laws in the wake of the Parkland shooting, but legislation and personal attacks cannot be based on ignorance.

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