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Colorado’s Independence Institute isn’t shy about its NRA tie

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 14, 2018 - Updated: March 14, 2018

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The National Rifle Association funds high school shooting sports — like this competition in New Mexico — and, according to an Associated Press analysis, Denver’s Independence Institute, (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal via AP)

Denver Public Schools may have decided to trade weapons for plowshares — it announced last week it would turn down National Rifle Association grants for assorted school programs in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre — but the Second Amendment-friendly, Denver-based Independence Institute is sticking to its guns.

As the Associated Press reported over the weekend:

The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute is one of the top recipients of charitable NRA grants, according to an Associated Press analysis of the NRA Foundation’s public tax records. The think tank received $241,000 from the foundation in 2016, the last year for which data is available. The institute reported receiving a total of $2 million in grants and donations that year.

The size of the Independence Institute’s grant is large enough to make Colorado the state with the fourth largest amount of NRA charitable donations, with $293,000 in grants. That places it only behind two much larger states — California and Texas — and North Carolina, home to Speedway Children’s Charities, which has received the largest NRA donation at $425,000.

The NRA wouldn’t comment for the AP, but the wire service’s findings hardly come as a shocker. As the AP’s Nicholas Riccardi notes in the report:

The Independence Institute has a long history in Colorado politics and is a prominent advocate of gun rights positions. Its research director, Dave Kopel, has written numerous law review articles defending gun rights and filed friend of court briefs supporting firearms owners and groups.

The think tank’s public affairs chief, Mike Krause, seemed downright proud, telling the AP: “It would make sense that America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA, would support our work … Indeed, we would like to think we are the most vocal and principled defender of the Second Amendment, and of the human right of self-defense, in Colorado. ”

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.