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Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0471679288
ISBN-10: 0471679283
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Editorial Reviews


"Ricochetis right on target. Feldman's behind-the-scenes memoir vividly describes America's firearms debate and struggle to win in extraordinary detail. I thoroughly enjoyed it."--John W. Magaw, former Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

"Ricochet casts an eye-opening spotlight on the shadowy world of behind-the-scenes gun politics. Is it accurate? Absolutely! I was there."--John Aquilino, former Director, NRA Public Education

"Ricochet tells the truth. With each page I can hear the echo of footsteps down the Rayburn Building's marbled halls as Feldman tells the intimate story few know and even fewer survive."--Jack Brooks (D-Tex.), former Chairman, U.S. House Judiciary Committee

From the Inside Flap

It's no secret that the National Rifle Association is probably the most powerful lobbying group in America, noted for its no-nonsense tactics and fervent membership. Beyond that, virtually everything about the NRA's political agenda, its financial structure, and how it spends the vast amounts of money it collects from contributors has been kept a tightly guarded secret, not only from the public but from NRA members as well—until now.

In Ricochet, a onetime NRA lobbyist and avid Second Amendment defender unmasks the inner workings, influence, and goals of this highly secretive political behemoth. From internecine warfare, media manipulation, and executive bankrolling to gun control bills and school massacres, Richard Feldman, former NRA regional political director and lobbyist for the firearm industry, exposes the NRA as a cynical, mercenary political cult obsessed with wielding power while exploiting members' fear in order to maximize contributions.

Among the many dirty little secrets that Feldman exposes are the phenomenal salaries received by CEO Wayne LaPierre and other high-ranking NRA officials. These generous remunerations, which place NRA executives among the highest-paid officials of any tax-exempt organization, are funded by biannual "crisis du jour" fund-raising drives, in which members are exhorted to donate additional funds to fend off the latest alleged threat to their Second Amendment rights.

Looking back over his long association with the NRA, Feldman reveals the inside stories behind the organization's responses to the Bernie Goetz subway shootings, the Assault Weapons Ban, gun control legislation, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Long Island Railroad shootings, and Feldman's own voluntary gun-lock agreement. He explains how the NRA's inflexible positions have placed the nation's most prominent representative of law-abiding gun owners in increasing opposition to law enforcement, gun makers, and moderate Republicans. The upshot is that the NRA is not an effective advocate for its members' interests. Obsessed with fund-raising, scare-mongering, and wielding political power, NRA leadership undermines commonsense solutions that would protect gun-owners' rights while reducing accidental shootings and gun violence.

Ricochet is not for gun control advocates: It is a wake-up call for gun owners who cherish their Second Amendment rights. The message is that the NRA has betrayed your trust, misused your hard-earned donations, and strengthened the hand of those who would take your guns away. Read this hard-hitting exposé to discover how this has happened and what you can do about it.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471679283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471679288
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Dean Speir on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1986 I was fortunate to have had a front row seat watching Richie Feldman fight against the forces of darkness in the person of the anti-gun Sheriff of Suffolk County (NY), who was refusing to allow civilians to own the then new Glock pistols.

NRA-ILA sent Feldman who had two conversations with the Sheriff, the first explaining that his decision was based on demonstrably erroneous information. When the official did nothing, several months later Feldman told him very directly: stop the foolishness about Glocks, or we're going to take you to court and pull your pants down.

The Sheriff folded within the month!

I've followed Feldman's career ever since, the savvy (dare I say "pushy?") self-described Jewish-kid-from-the-Five-Towns. I think the "pushy" is what I like the most in his defense of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. That, and one of his credos: "You fight fire with napalm!"

"Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist" is an insider's view from the trenches, and if anyone is concerned that it's an "NRA puff piece," that organization (of which I am a Life Member) will undoubtedly be more antagonistic toward the book than say the anti-gun "Brady Bunch." Feldman chronicles the evolution of the venerable organization from a collection of shooting sports enthusiasts into, under the formidible leadership of Harlon Carter, a dedicated group of Second Amendment stalwarts, and then after Carter's death, the NRA's transformation into a cynical fund-raising machine with Wayne LaPierre and the PR firm of Ackerman-McQueen running things irrespective of Members' wishes.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Cassidy on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what I was going to get when I picked up "Ricochet" but it turned out to be a page turner.

Richard Feldman is a skillful writer and an engaging story teller. His prose is easily approachable, passionate, and at the same time, avoids emotional extremes and bumper sticker slogans -- it's easy to see how he has been such a successful lobbiest.

The "confessions" aren't ideological regrets, but rather the kiss-and-tell story of internecine warfare at one of America's largest and most powerful lobbying groups. Feldman presents the National Rifle Association to be not exactly the 800 lb gorilla many people had always assumed -- but rather a pack of 80 lb chimpanzees that sometimes work together towards a common goal but also spend a lot of time poking one another in the eyes.

At the book's core, divergent factions in the NRA (one spearheaded by Feldman) disagree fundamentally on the best way to bring their cause forward -- the reader can decide which (if either) seems more practical. A fascinating read, whatever your position on guns. "Ricochet" seems to tell a universal tale -- one assumes that the very same types of arguments are going on in the back rooms of Greenpeace or any other lobbying group staffed by passionate and dedicated idealists.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Knox on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wrote this review for my column in Shotgun News almost two years ago. I'm pleased to say that it still holds. I had a long chat with Richard a couple of years ago and, as he said to me then, this book reflects his thinking at a particular point in time. His views have since evolved, particularly on the topic of my father, Neal Knox. He noted to me (and has since stated publicly) that time has proven Neal Knox right more often than it has proven him wrong.

Much of what Richard says in this book is dead on. The scene he describes in the opening pages of walking through an NRA gathering as a pariah was all too familiar. Dad and the rest of our family experienced exactly the same cold shoulder.

This is an important book to have in your library if you are interested in the inside details of the gun rights war. It's not a bad read, and, with internal pressures building within the NRA headquarters, can give some insight into the next internal fight when it breaks out.


Chris Knox
Editor of Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War

Richard Feldman, former lobbyist for NRA and various firearms industry groups in the 1980's and 1990's, has created a fair stir with his book Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. The book has the appearance of a turncoat insider dishing up hot gossip from the bowels of the gun lobby. But despite its cover - and despite some angry reviews - Feldman has not joined the anti-gun side.

He has staked out a pro-gun, but anti-NRA position.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David T. Hardy on December 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sorta like old home week for me...

I'd quite agree you can't judge this book by its press or blog reviews. The press naturally picked up on Richard's criticism of NRA fundraising and expenditures, and the bloggers (except me, who refused to blog without reading it) reacted to that. Both made the book seem antigun, when it's very far from that. As I would have guessed, because I last saw the author at the private ceremony to dedicate the bronze of Harlon Carter: Harlon's family would not have singled him out for invitation unless he was respected by them.

The book is exceptionally clearly written, and definitely a page turner. I think I took one break from reading its 300+ pages. If anyone wants to see what it's like to be a lobbyist, this is the book for them. Just one episode: at one point NY Gov. Mario Cuomo holds a tense meeting with the author and others, and tries to break the ice by deliberately sitting on a whoopee cushion. It didn't go over very well...
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