It is excusable that some Americans are so disgusted over the level of gun violence that they desperately seek a villain to lash out against. Every time there is a mass shooting the usual targets, Republicans and the National Rifle Association receive the brunt of criticism but always emerge unscathed and more empowered to carry on. It is true that Republicans, and some Democrats, embrace the NRA line that any gun safety proposal is a war against good Americans that drives their votes to continue the NRA’s gun proliferation crusade unabated.
Whether gun safety advocates will acknowledge that there are no Senate or House members representing a state or district called “NRA” is irrelevant; they seriously need to stop blaming the NRA for the actions of congressional Republicans and terrified, angry, and religious conservative voters responsible for promoting guns to kill other Americans.
Obviously, and with seemingly valid reasons, a significant number of Americans are blaming the number and increase of mass shootings on the National Rifle Association and its lunatic executive vice-president Wayne La Pierre for doing what the NRA exists to do; sell millions of guns. Now there are more than Americans assailing the NRA including a British Broadcasting Company (BBC) host who decided to advise American citizens that if they are tired of mass shootings and needless deaths, they simply have to “break and dismantle the NRA.”
The BBC’s Aaron Heslehurst discussed America’s gun violence epidemic with columnist Maike Currie who agreed that the frequency and number of mass shootings plaguing America were “staggering.” Currie said the problem is that “everyone points to the Second Amendment that was set up in 1789 in a different world; something needs to be done about this.” Heslehurst agreed and threw out some “staggering statistics” he believes indicts the NRA for the number of Americans killed by guns, then counseled what it takes stop the carnage. He noted,
“In the last 43 years, more Americans have been shot by another American — shot and killed by another American — than all of America’s soldiers killed in wars in the last 240 years. And you go where’s the priority? You talk about the NRA, right? If anyone really wants to get serious, that’s what you have to try to break, dismantle.”
Another pundit tended to agree with Heslehurst and focused on the NRA’s influence unrelated to the outrageous amounts of money the gun lobby spends on Republicans. Matt Yglesias has a valid point that although the NRA has donated close to a million dollars each to several leading Republicans, money is not the source of the NRA’s power and influence; frightened and dysfunctional conservative gun fanatics who vote religiously are.
Yglesias notes, “lots of lobbying groups have more money than the NRA and almost none of their clout. The NRA’s true sources of power are people and focus.” Because the NRA has over 5 million real members who are terrified, religious, and angry to call their congressional representatives, volunteer and spread NRA fear and loathing with family, friends and acquaintances, Republicans get the message that gun maniacs pay attention to how Republicans vote and show up on Election Day.
The NRA’s focus is simple; oppose gun regulations using any means necessary. That laser focus makes them a very adept and successful corporate lobby, but they are not shooting people, casting votes in Congress or at the ballot box.
It is beyond dispute the National Rifle Association exists to sell guns to Americans, and it spends inordinate amounts of money buying loyalty from Republicans. Even pressuring legislators with the dreaded NRA “report card” is a ploy to sell more guns, but the organization is not shooting Americans; frightened, hate-filled, and religious Americans are and that is where the blame lies. Without a base to elect Republicans willingly doing the NRA’s bidding, the NRA would be as unsuccessful as the gun safety movement.
Although the NRA is handing out nearly a million dollars to several leading Republicans in Congress to block gun safety measure, neither the NRA as a non-profit organization, nor its insane leader Wayne La Pierre, are allowed to cast a vote in the House or the Senate. That decision lies with Republicans, and some Democratic cowards, who are terrified of receiving a failing score, or reduction in donations, from the NRA.
It is true that the NRA exerts inordinate power over legislators, but without frightened and gun-mad voters electing equally frightened Republicans to keep gun violence rising, the NRA would be impotent. It is time to stop blaming the NRA and focus on “breaking and dismantling their base of support and cowardly Republicans;” the two groups ultimately responsible for the increase in guns and gun violence.