Chris Cox

Chris Cox (Executive Director)

NRA Leader
Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

After receiving a B.A. from Rhodes College, Chris Cox worked as a legislative aide to U.S. Representative John Tanner (D-TN) and as a lobbyist. He began working for the National Rifle Association in 1995 as a federal liaison in the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). Cox was promoted to Deputy Director of the Federal Affairs Division in 2000 before taking over as the Executive Director of NRA-ILA in 2002. He develops and executes political campaign and legislative initiatives, coordinates national advertising and direct-mail programs and has administrative responsibility over ILA’s $20 million budget. Cox also serves as chairman of the NRA’s political action committee, the “Political Victory Fund.”

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Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:

Chris Cox (Executive Director)

In a March 18, 2023 op-ed for The Hill, Cox wrote, “A mandate for truly ‘universal’ background checks would put the federal government squarely in the middle of every sale, loan or gift of a firearm between private individuals. In other words, it would criminalize all private firearms transfers, even between family members or friends who have known each other all of their lives.” In fact, Senator Chuck Schumer’s Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013, which Cox made reference to, exempts "bona fide gifts between spouses, between parents and their children, between siblings, or between grandparents and their grandchildren" from the background check requirement. The legislation also includes exemption from the background check requirement for temporary transfers for hunting and other sporting purposes.

Chris Cox (Executive Director)

In a January 25, 2023 press release from the NRA-ILA, Cox wrote about an article in The Hill that reported the NRA was working on a bill with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to implement universal background checks on all firearms purchases. The release stated, “NRA does NOT support universal background checks and is not working with Manchin to implement this type of legislation. NRA opposes, and will continue to oppose, universal background checks.” Several polls conducted in January 2013 in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary indicated overwhelming public support for universal background checks. A public opinion poll published by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health found that 89% of Americans and 74% of NRA members supported requiring a background check for all gun sales. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 85% of Americans and gun owners favored making private gun sales subject to background checks. A CBS/New York Times poll found that 92% of Americans and 85% of respondents living in a household with an NRA member supported universal background checks. At one time, even the NRA supported expanding background checks. In May 1999, following the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told Congress that the NRA supported background checks on all firearms purchases at gun shows. A 1999 NRA ad in USA Today read, “We believe it's reasonable to provide for instant background checks at gun shows, just like gun stores and pawn shops.”

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