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Revealed: During 2015 NRA Delegation Trip to Moscow, NRA Helped Promote Russian Sniper Rifle That the Pentagon Considers a Threat to U.S. Soldiers

Mother Jones Reports that During 2015 NRA Delegation Trip to Moscow, NRA Helped Promote Russian Sniper Rifle That Poses A Threat to “U.S. Troops And Those of Its Allies”

A Military Technology Expert Recently Noted that Orsis T-5000 Is Changing “the Shape of Future Battlefields” to the Disadvantage of the United States

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statement after Mother Jones published a report that the NRA has boosted the ORSIS T-5000 sniper rifle, a relatively new Russian-made firearm that a U.S. Army report called “one of the most capable bolt action sniper rifles in the world.” According to Mother Jones, for the U.S. military, a concern regarding the proliferation of the T-5000 rifle is that it is one of the few Russian rifles that can pierce body armor used by American troops.

In December 2015, as has been previously reported, the NRA sent a high-level delegation to Russia, including current NRA President Pete Brownell, then the first vice president of the NRA; past NRA president David Keene; top NRA donor and chair of the NRA Golden Ring of Freedom Joe Gregory; and top NRA and Trump campaign surrogate David Clarke, then the sheriff of Milwaukee County.

While the NRA delegation was in Moscow, it toured the Russian gun manufacturer ORSIS, whose weapons have been reportedly used by Russia’s military and Russian-backed forces. The NRA delegation met with Russian politician and banker Alexander Torshin, who has since been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury and is reportedly being investigated by the FBI; his longtime aide Maria Butina, who has claimed to have been a go-between between the Trump campaign and Russia; and then-sanctioned Russian official Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s then-deputy prime minister. The delegation “watched a video extolling the T-5000 and toured the company’s manufacturing plant and observed rifles being made. Then members of the delegation test-fired ORSIS rifles at an on-site shooting range. The company presented the NRAers with swanky watches bearing the company’s logo.”

STATEMENT FROM ANDREW ZUCKER, FEDERAL MEDIA RELATIONS DIRECTOR FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:

“It’s disturbing that the NRA boosted a Russian gun manufacturer whose weapons pose a danger to American troops, the latest in a string of revelations about the NRA and Russia. Instead of this drip, drip, drip, the NRA should come clean, and explain its delegation trips to Moscow and its Russia ties, full stop.”

Mother Jones reports:

“While the NRA delegation was in Moscow, it visited the ORSIS offices and facilities. The group, accompanied by Butina, watched a video extolling the T-5000 and toured the company’s manufacturing plant and observed rifles being made. Then members of the delegation test-fired ORSIS rifles at an on-site shooting range. The company presented the NRAers with swanky watches bearing the company’s logo.

“The day of the ORSIS visit, Clarke posted on Twitter a photograph of himself holding the T-5000 rifle.

The NRA trip to ORSIS was of use to the Russian gunmaker. The company produced a video showing the NRA delegates oohing and aahing over the T-5000. The video was one in a series of short films promoting ORSIS and its weapons. The video was posted on YouTube four weeks after the visit.”

The NRA has been under fire for its Russian links. The outfit has refused to provide Congress with complete information about funding it receives from overseas, including Russia. McClatchy has reported the FBI is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Trump win the presidency. (The NRA was among the biggest pro-Trump spenders in the 2016 election.) And the ORIS trip is another link between the NRA and Russia. The NRA did not respond to a request to explain whether the organization had any qualms about plugging a Russian weapon of concern to the U.S. military.

This report raises a number of questions, which the NRA must now answer:

  • What was the purpose of the 2015 NRA delegation trip to Moscow, in which the delegation toured the facilities of the Russian gun manufacturer ORSIS? The NRA has not explained the purpose of that trip, the purpose of a 2013 NRA delegation trip to Moscow, or its relationship with allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Why was the NRA boosting a Russian weapon of concern to the U.S. military?
  • Was the NRA aware of how ORSIS weapons would be used?
  • Did the NRA delegation discuss U.S. sanctions against Russia or the export of Russian arms to the United States with representatives from ORSIS?