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NRA Raises $200 Million as Gun Lobby Toasters Burn Logo on Bread

A toaster that burns the National Rifle Association’s logo onto bread fetched $650 at an auction last month, just one reflection of the money-making power in the gun group’s brand.

The NRA, which began as a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching marksmanship, enters the 2012 election season as a lobbying, merchandising and marketing machine that brings in more than $200 million a year and intends to help unseat the incumbent president. From 2004 to 2010, the group’s revenue from fundraising -- including gifts from gun makers who benefit from its political activism -- grew twice as fast as its income from members’ dues, according to NRA tax returns.