Bastion of president’s base riven by financial woes and rows over its political campaigning

When Donald Trump addresses cheering throngs at the National Rifle Association annual meetings on Friday, he will again be throwing red meat to his base before an election. This time, however, it could be argued that the NRA needs Trump more than Trump needs the NRA.

The world’s most powerful gun lobby is in disarray. The organisation is still reeling from disclosures that Russian operatives tried to use contacts in the NRA to influence US elections. Its leaders have been accused of straying from the association’s original mission of gun safety and shooting sports by wading into politics and “culture wars”. And, plagued by financial troubles, the NRA is suing its longtime public relations firm over its refusal to hand over financial records to account for bills worth millions of dollars.

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