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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Gun lobby sets up news operation
NRA radio host Cam Edwards
The operation will be a platform for the NRA in the US elections
The US gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has entered the world of broadcasting.

An NRA-owned media corporation has begun offering internet-based radio content and has further plans for a television deal and a radio station.

The group is expected to use its media outlets to promote its opposition to proposed restrictions on gun ownership, an issue in the coming US elections.

A conservative radio host from Oklahoma has been hired as its first journalist.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice-president, told the Associated Press news agency the organisation would become a "legitimate packager of news".

Sidestepping the ban

The media operation is expected to provide a platform for the NRA in the run-up to this year's presidential elections - a time when restrictions surround the use of donors' money for political advertising.

The NRA's media outlets will be financed by unlimited donations, known as "soft money".

Campaign finance laws ban the use of "soft money" for political advertising in the run-up to elections

"If you own a news operation," said Mr LaPierre, "you can say whatever you want. If you don't, you're gagged."

Experts say that the NRA might be able to sidestep campaign finance laws if it can convincingly show that it is running a media organisation.

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