U.S. arms control activists hope it will be different this time around
Democratic lawmakers hope the popular aid and economic and legal problems of the National Rifle Association will open the way for America to push for legislation to tighten gun ownership rules in America.
Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, who has been a staunch advocate of gun safety laws since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, said the political climate has changed in recent years.
“I think the policy has changed tremendously since 2013, as well as since 2016, the last time we voted to check the background,” Murphy told NBC Meet the Press on Sunday.
“I have received calls from Republicans in the Senate who do not want to fight this fight any more, because the NRA’s authority is disappearing, because the impact of the armed violence movement is increasing. I think we have a chance.”
The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, passed two bills earlier in the year that would strengthen gun ownership regulations, closing loopholes to verify that many U.S. gun sales are not a precedent.
Murphy has been tasked with building GOP support in the upper house of Congress for the proposals of Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority in the Senate. The move came last week in Boulder, Colorado, as a result of a massive shooting that left 10 dead and killed eight people in the Atlanta area last week, including six Asian-American women. The effort is backed by President Joe Biden.
But Murphy has an uphill battle: legislation in the 50-50 Senate will not go anywhere without the support of 60 senators, or at least 10 Republicans, to overcome the audacity threshold. Several Republican lawmakers have already expressed a strong stance against them.
“Every time a tragic shooting occurs in this country, the left uses it as a reason to take the gun from the owner of a legal weapon,” said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Ted Cruz, his Texas colleague in the Senate, gave a similar opinion to the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Colorado shooting.
“Every time a shooting is done we perform this hilarious play, this committee comes together and proposes a bunch of laws that will do nothing to stop these killings,” Cruz said.
But some Democrats find hope in polls that the vast majority of U.S. adults support some form of gun control.
A poll 93 percent of U.S. adults found in December by Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords found that gun control groups said the next president and Congress should work to check the background on all gun sales.
“There is a great disconnect between the public and lawmakers, and specifically Republican lawmakers,” said poll poll leader Angela Kuefler of the global poll group Global Strategy Group.
“[Voters] they have no problem believing strongly in the Second Amendment [to the US constitution, which enshrines the right to “keep and bear arms], and also believes that guns should be more regulated, ”he added.
“These two truths are kept at the same time and are not supposed to be legislators.”
Kuefler and others blame the NRA, the largest arms rights group in the country with more than 5 million members, and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on GOP coffers over the years. It still promises the loyalty of Republican presidents and lawmakers, placing it among the most powerful lobby organizations in Washington.
But the NRA has been plagued by financial problems, struggles and legal issues in recent times, with advocates and critics saying it has diminished its strength and provided an opportunity for advocates to protect weapons.
Last summer, the Attorney General of New York they sued disbanding the organization, accusing executive director Wayne LaPierre and other top executives of spilling millions of dollars into the group for their own good. The Attorney General of Washington DC filed a parallel lawsuit. In January, the NRA declare failed and said he would leave New York to re-enter Texas.
“They have existential problems,” said Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at SUNY Cortland and an expert on U.S. weapons policy. “They have tremendous problems as an organization.”
Data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the NRA spent more than $ 29 million in the 2020 election cycle, and that most of the donations were directed back to Donald Trump’s election campaign. Those figures were compared to four years earlier, when the NRA spent more than $ 54 million supporting Trump and Republican congressional candidates.
At the same time, lobby groups promoting gun safety laws have increased spending in recent years. Everytown funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $ 21 million in last year’s election to Biden and Congress Democrats.
Spitzer cautioned that despite the small NRA, the organization’s messages remain with a significant portion of Republican candidates, especially Trump supporters.
“People are there, and in a way, they don’t need the NRA to activate. They’re on autopilot, ”Spitzer added.
“They are part of the Republican coalition and the Republican [lawmakers]they are generally attached to the coalition that won the 2016 election. “
“Even if the money doesn’t go in, [the NRA] they have been very, very effective in getting the message out, and it resonates a lot today, ”said Shirley Anne Warshaw, a political science professor at Gettysburg College.
“People, especially people in rural areas, are afraid of the government’s excessive expansion, and having a weapon is their protection,” they feel.
The NRA has stressed that it will face the final push to control weapons in Washington.
“The NRA has not lost pace,” group spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Wall Street Journal over the weekend.
“Actually, there is no other organization when it comes to moving the ball in Congress and moving the ball in the states when it comes to continuing to improve gun laws, hunting rights and self-defense laws like the NRA. People are realizing that.”