The National Rifle Association’s top lawyer, who has been instrumental in shaping gun policy in the U.S., was once convicted of murdering a woman in Indiana, according to an investigation by Mother Jones.
Robert J. Dowlut, general counsel for the NRA, reportedly admitted to police in 1963 that he killed his girlfriend’s mother. He was 17 years old at the time. Dowlut reportedly led police to the graveyard where he buried the gun and also copped to attempting to rob a pawnshop the same night as the killing.
Bullets from the gun Dowlut unearthed at the graveyard matched those found at the site of Anna Marie Yocum’s murder and at the pawnshop, according to Mother Jones.
A jury found Dowlut guilty of murder, but his conviction was later overturned because of shoddy police work during the investigation. Dowlut was reportedly arrested without a warrant and interrogated by police without a lawyer present despite his attorney’s protest, according to court documents.
He never got a new trial.
After he was freed from prison, Dowlut went on to earn a law degree and work for the gun lobby.
Dave Gilson writes for Mother Jones:
As the NRA’s top lawyer, he has been a key architect of the gun lobby’s campaign to define the legal interpretation of the Second Amendment. He helped oversee the NRA’s effort to strike down Chicago’s handgun ban in the 2010 Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, and he is the longtime secretary of the organisation’s Civil Rights Defence Fund, which has spent millions assisting gun owners in court and sponsoring gun rights researchers.
Despite his extensive work for the NRA and his high position within the organisation, there is little trace of Dowlut online.
Mother Jones notes that Dowlut’s past hasn’t been made public before now. The whole story is worth a read.
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