Social movement organizations (SMOs) often aim to influence society through policy change. However, policy change may actually be the result of public opinion, political opportunities, or other factors, thus creating a spurious relationship between SMO activity and policy outcomes. Interestingly, the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to influence policy is often assumed but seldom tested. Drawing on social movement and political-sociological theories of policy change, this study assesses NRA influence on state-level firearm policy outcomes using the case of concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws. Using event-history analyses, I find the NRA does influence CCW laws, but its effect is mediated by public opinion, political ideologies, competitive elections, and political opportunities. Issue-specific public opinion and political ideologies also interact with one another to influence CCW laws. These findings build upon a growing literature that illustrates how SMOs interact with political contexts to generate policy change.

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