David Cay Johnston writes that the NRA impeded the Boston bombing investigation due to its opposition to the tracing of gunpowder. It does not, however, oppose the tracing of plastic explosives like Semtex since the companies that manufacture the latter do not fund the NRA, whose ultimate aim is profits. In Johnston's view, the NRA should be known as "the mass murder lobby":
The inability to quickly track the gunpowders in the Boston bombs is due to government policy designed and promoted by the NRA, which has found a way to transform every massacre associated with weapons into an opportunity for the munitions companies that sustain it to sell more guns, gunpowder and bullets.
...But for the NRA-backed policy of not putting identifiers known as taggants in gunpowder, law enforcement could have quickly identified the explosives used to make the bombs, tracking them from manufacture to retail sale. That could well have saved the life of Sean Collier, the 26-year-old MIT police officer who was gunned down Thursday night by the fleeing bomb suspects.
...Had the Boston bombers used a plastic explosive, it would have included identifiers that would have allowed a quick trace. Those taggants exist because the NRA does not oppose them.
Why is that? Why this breach in the NRA’s Maginot Line of defense against reasonable regulation of guns and ammunition?
The answer appears to lie in who makes plastic explosives like Semtex, which was used to bring down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The world’s main supplier was not a company that finances the NRA, but Libya under Moammar Khadafy.
That this one breach in NRA policy traces directly to the economic interests of the American munitions industry provides powerful evidence of what motivates the NRA – profits.
That the gun makers have managed to turn each massacre into a spike in sales of both expensive rapid-fire weapons and ammunition adds to the evidence that the NRA should be viewed as the mass-murder lobby.