Chris W. Cox

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Chris W. Cox in March 2016

Christopher William Cox has been the chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) since April 2002. He is the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA),[1].

He oversees eight divisions within the NRA-ILA, including Federal Affairs; State & Local Government Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research; Conservation; Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox is also chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF),[2] the association's political action committee.

Early life and education[edit]

Chris was born in 1971 to Dr. Charles and Betsy Cox of Jackson, Tennessee.[3] He has three brothers: Brian Curtis Cox, John Buckley Cox, Kevin Miles Cox. According to his NRA-ILA biography, Cox enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father and three brothers in West Tennessee.

He attended The Baylor School for grades 10-12, and is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in History.[4] Before his career at the NRA, Cox served as a congressional aide on legislative issues relating to hunting sports and gun ownership for U.S. Rep. John S. Tanner [D-TN8, 1989-2010].[3]

Chris and his wife Courtney have a son, Carter Buckley Cox, and a daughter, Virginia Reynolds Cox.[4] His wife Courtney grew up in Alexandria, Va just a few blocks from the couple's current home, and works as an interior designer.[5] According to an interview with the Washingtonian, their son was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014, and was successfully treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.[5]

NRA career[edit]

Before his current appointments, Cox held senior positions within the NRA-ILA. He was promoted to deputy director of the ILA Federal Affairs Division shortly before being named Executive Director of the NRA-ILA.[6] Public records show Cox serving as President and Chair of the Board of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation from at least 2014 through 2016. Tax documents show his compensation during these years was $891,002 in 2014,, $1,450,842 in 2015, and $997,431 in 2016

Assault Weapons Ban[edit]

In 2004, Cox lobbied on behalf of the NRA-ILA to end the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Due to a sunset provision, the ban was set to expire after 10 years. Cox utilized a grassroots campaign, which included editorial pieces and news media appearances.[7] Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attached a rider to Congress's Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Had the amendment passed, the AWB would have been extended an additional ten years. Though President George W. Bush had agreed to sign the ban into law if the amendment passed, Cox and the NRA-ILA lobbyists were successful, and the bill was voted down 8-90. The ban expired on September 13, 2004.

2004 elections[edit]

According to his NRA-ILA biography, Cox was successful in lobbying for NRA-supported candidates in the 2004 elections. 95% of the NRA-PVF endorsed federal candidates and 86% of the endorsed state candidates were elected. Cox was at the forefront of a media campaign to re-elect incumbent President Bush,[8] by utilizing the organization's grassroots technique.[9]

Lawsuit protection[edit]

As of September 2003, the NRA's focus at the federal level is on a bill to protect manufacturers from certain types of lawsuits. The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S.659/S.1806) is also supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and opposed by many gun-control groups. The Senate amended the bill to extend the assault weapons ban and close the so-called gun-show loophole, whereupon the NRA withdrew its support; the bill was defeated on March 2, 2004.

A new "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S.397) passed the Senate (65–31) in late July 2005, passed the House (283–144) on October 20, and was signed by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2005. The bill carried two amendments: requiring the purchase of a trigger lock with any handgun purchase; and authorizing the Department of Justice to study the penetration characteristics of ammunition and make a determination if the ammunition fits the category of "armor piercing". These amendments were rejected by other pro-gun organizations that think these concessions will lead to more restrictions and impetus for lawsuits for those that do not use trigger locks.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NRA-ILA News Release; 1 January 2005; "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ NRA-ILA Political Victory Fund; "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Jackson native defending Second Amendment rights". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Charles Cox honored as 'giver of his time and love'". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  5. ^ a b "Inside Designer Courtney Cox's Alexandria Home | Washingtonian". Washingtonian. 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  6. ^ NRA-ILA News Release; 1 January 2005; "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Editorial; San Francisco Chronicle; 2004;
  8. ^ NRA endorsement of President Bush; 2004; "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-09-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ NRA-ILA :: Grassroots Activism Archived August 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]