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  NRA expands its role from fight for gun rights to conservative causes
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ContributorJason 
Last EditedJason  Apr 08, 2012 07:50pm
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MediaTV News - CNN
News DateSaturday, April 7, 2012 03:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionWashington (CNN) -- This week, Coca-Cola and Kraft announced they are pulling their corporate memberships from a conservative group that was behind the spread of "stand your ground" laws like the one highlighted in Florida by the Trayvon Martin case.

The American Legislative Executive Council, also known as ALEC, is getting attention lately for its behind the scenes work pushing conservative legislation in the states.

The group has gotten even more attention since a neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed unarmed teenager Martin last month.

The man who shot Martin, George Zimmerman, said he acted in self-defense. Police haven't charged him and legal experts say Florida's "stand your ground" law may shield Zimmerman from prosecution.

The National Rifle Association worked with ALEC to spread similar laws that are on the books in at least 25 states.

Those laws grow directly out of the Second Amendment ethos the NRA has championed: "the ethos of individualism, of having a gun, of individuals taking the initiative," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Cortland and at Cornell University who has studied and written about the NRA for decades.

Less well known is that the NRA has also helped ALEC spread other conservative laws that have nothing to do with gun rights.
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