Is the Gun Lobby Still Invincible?
Alec McGillis in “The Gun Lobby’s Power Is Overstated” supposes that the influence of the gun lobby is overrated because it has local character and “becoming more concentrated in a smaller share of the population” (McGillis) but it can be said that the restrictive measures and tighter controls on the arms control do not pass in Congress because of the very powerful influence of the gun lobby. This is due to the strengthening of the American media of the various communities who find the resources and mechanisms of influence for their own interests. The terms of the interests the gun lobby is different and involves the struggle against inequality to influence American foreign policy. In itself, informal influence on the government in order to obtain various preferences to influence decision-making exists long time. Wherever there was a dominant political actor, the other political players tried to influence him in their favor. In fact, there is a situation in which the right of some citizens (on gun ownership) is more important than the right of other people to life. The right to own weapons leads to an increase in the number of murders, suicides, accidents. A particularly clear and tragic way the whole complex of problems associated with the free circulation of weapons, manifested in the mass executions.
The most influential lobby in the US armory successfully resists any attempts to legislatively restrict the possession of weapons, despite the increasing number of victims of various “shooters". The government has long paid attention to the problem, and offers certain groups to control the spread of weapons among the population. However, the National Rifle Association does not allow any legislative amendments, stressing that this is a violation of the rights of Americans to possess weapons, as enshrined in the US Constitution. This organization has positioned itself as non-partisan and non-profit, and as its main objectives proclaimed protection of part of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, and the protection of personal and property rights arms dealers and owners of firearms for hunting and self-defense in the United States. The National Rifle Association is sponsoring training courses safety in the handling of weapons and firing techniques, conducting competitions and sports competitions in shooting sports. so it can be considered one of the most influential lobbying groups.
I agree with Robyn Thomas that today there are no prospects and legislative initiatives to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons. At the same time the United States has the highest rate of murders with firearms among all developed countries, it is clear that the tightening of arms trafficking and reducing the number of weapons in the hands of citizens, could help to reduce this level. American politicians cannot agree even today about the need for tighter controls on the sale of weapons. Even if they do not imply the introduction of draconian measures: proposed steps to verify the personal data in wanting to buy a gun is much less stringent than the existing requirements for the citizens of other issues. However, any proposed measures blocked the gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association. The political influence of the organization is not surprising because according to some estimates, in the election vote 55 million Americans who own guns. The gun lobby and enjoys the support of the US arms manufacturers, since 95 per cent of weapons produced in the US market in the United States.
US President Barack Obama has already indicated his intention to tighten control over the circulation of firearms in the United States, particularly in light of recent opinion polls, however, the press published the assumption that he would not dare to support the bill on restrictions on gun ownership because their adoption is associated with political difficulties. NRA actively funding the campaign against her unwanted candidates. The reason for the active participation of the gun lobby in the election campaign became a law banning assault weapons, shortly before the elections in September 1994, passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. Since then, Democrats have avoided the issue of gun control. In 2004, the term of the ban on assault weapons expired, and it was not renewed. Also “Since 1980, forty-four states have passed some form of law that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons outside their homes for personal protection” (Lepore 5).
Violence Policy Center report called «Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA» refers to the million donation from the company associated with the production and sale of weapons, and special programs for weapons stores: the price owner rounded to the nearest dollar and the difference is sent in NRA Foundation. According to the authors of the report "companies involved in the manufacture or sale of firearms or shooting-related products. Contributions to the NRA from the firearms industry since 2005 total between $ 14.7 million and $ 38.9 million” (Marty, Sugarmann 4). The report stated that the mutual dependence of the National Rifle Association and the arms industry NRA explains the reluctance to compromise even on very limited control over the weapons.
Shootings in Newtown more expanded base of political support for the verification of personal information measures in arms sales at the expense of more moderate members of the Republican Party in Congress. Debate on the issue of tightening control over arms are heavy and in Congress, and in the community. But the tragedy in Newtown has changed, if not all, much, initiating a substantial revision of the society's attitude towards the problem of weapons because “Many of the firearms involved in crime are cheap handguns, so-called Saturday Night Specials, for which no legitimate use or need exists” (Wright 23). Among the 90 percent who support the proposal to introduce a general check of the individual customer at any arms sales, there are no special differences between supporters of different parties - the Democrats and Republicans. Moreover, for such a test stand for more than 85 percent of people owning guns, and three quarters of the members of the NRA. However, the Democratic Party led by President Obama cannot get full support for this idea from conservative Democrats who are afraid to speak out against the National Rifle Association that can decisively help the competitors of these politicians in the elections. The success of this venture is not very probable, because under US law all presidential decrees can be successfully challenged in court then, as has happened in the past with trying to hold Obama's unilateral immigration reform. Rather, proponents of free sale and the carrying of weapons will not fail to take this opportunity to besiege Obama again in his good intentions.
On the other hand, the forces in favor of limiting arms trafficking, trying to financially support politicians who dared to oppose the National Rifle Association. These initiatives are supported by some of the organizations that integrate the US mayors and police. National Rifle Association effectively blocks most of the steps of these groups, skillfully using the total political polarization in the United States today. Saving Second Amendment to the US Constitution and the requirements of the free movement of arms are part of the conservative Republican agenda that supports the program of the National Rifle Association from Republicans. That is why it is possible to say that the current situation is that American society today is much more polarized, so under the current institutional arrangements it is impossible to conduct virtually any serious reforms.
Marty, L., and J. Sugarmann. "Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA." Violence Policy Center (2011). Print.
McGillis, Alec. "The Gun Lobby's Power Is Overstated - Nytimes.Com". Nytimes.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.
Lepore, Jill. "Battleground America." One nation, under the gun.” New Yorker (2012): 04-23. Print.
Wright, James D. "Second thoughts about gun control." The Public Interest 91 (1988): 23-40. Print.