I have strongly criticized ludicrous gun enforcement that criminalizes ordinary citizens, but I also support Mayor Bloomberg’s and Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ (a coalition of over 700 Mayors of American cities and towns) efforts to Demand a Plan to reduce gun violence.
However, whatever our individual views, broad agreement on the proper level of gun regulation will be difficult because:
1. Americans Are Divided On the Issue of Guns — According to a Pew Research poll conducted after Newtown, 42 percent of Americans strongly believe gun control is more important than gun rights. However, about 37 percent strongly believe gun rights are more important than gun control. A significant number of American citizens reject even the most basic limitations on gun rights. And such citizens vote for candidates based on this strongly-held issue. Citizens supporting gun control, however, don’t let that issue determine how they choose their representatives.
2. Gun Advocacy Groups are Well-Funded – Because many Americans are passionate about gun rights, groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) have the resources for a prolonged fight. The NRA’s annual budget is approximately $300 million and it has about four million members. It’s one of the largest, and most powerful, advocacy groups in America. For example, the NRA outspends gun control advocacy groups, in lobbying expenses, by 10 to 1. Many NRA members disagree with the NRA’s position on gun control, but they all receive its mailings — giving the NRA a massive platform to highlight (positively or negatively) any politician (or issue) it targets. As a consequence, few politicians are willing to risk the NRA’s ire by supporting gun control legislation.
3. Americans Increasingly Live in Belief Communities – As the Pew Research data illustrates, Americans are deeply divided on gun issues. But these two groups of Americans don’t talk with each other. They often live in very different regions, and (in many cases) exist in sub-cultures where they only talk with, and get news from, people who share their beliefs. This separation of our society into different Belief Communities, on issues such as gun rights, makes it difficult for our political leaders to find effective compromises.
4. Even Assuming a Clear Majority Favors Gun Control, the American Political System Protects the Rights of Political Minorities — Gun rights groups will have many opportunities to oppose gun control legislation, whether through: filibustering in the Senate; preventing legislation from ever coming to a vote in the House (where a gun rights-sympathetic GOP has a majority of votes); adding amendments that reduce the effectiveness of any gun control legislation enacted; preventing funding for enforcement of such new legislation; or 2nd Amendment challenges to any legislation in the courts.
5. The NRA is Deeply Embedded in the Republican Party — It’s not clear whether the NRA controls the GOP, or the GOP controls the NRA. What’s very clear is that the two organizations are tightly intertwined. According to OpenSecrets.org, about 90 percent of the NRA’s political contributions go to the GOP. The NRA board is dominated by conservatives/GOP operatives such as: Grover Norquist, Larry “wide stance” Craig, Bob Barr and other Washington insiders/lobbyists.
For example, the only gun legislation President Obama signed during his first term — actually changed existing law to permit concealed weapons in America’s parks. President Obama was given a grade of F, by gun control groups, for his failure to support gun control legislation. Despite this, instead of remaining neutral in the 2012 elections, the NRA endorsed Romney-Ryan (in very apocalyptic terms, see below) and spent almost $20 million attempting to defeat Democrats/President Obama. These deep Republican connections give the NRA immense leverage in any congressional negotiations about gun control.
6. Most GOP Congressional Representatives are from Conservative Safe Districts, Where Gun Rights Supporters are Concentrated — Congressional Republicans received only 48 percent of the votes cast — but acquired 53 percent of the seats — due to gerrymandering and safe seats. Whether these Republican representatives are true believers, or moderates who fear a primary challenge — they will oppose gun control as commanded by the NRA.
7. The NRA Feeds, and Is Fed by, GOP Paranoia — I believe many Americans who voted for Romney were nonetheless appalled by the tone of the NRA statement endorsing Romney-Ryan: “Today, we live in an America that is getting harder to recognize every day led by a President who mocks our values, belittles our faith, and is threatened by our freedom.”
Further, the NRA claims President Obama is part of a conspiracy (involving the United Nations) to confiscate all of America’s guns. The NRA’s policy has been to align itself with the worst elements of the American right and to feed their dangerous paranoia. I’m referring to the: Approximately 25 percent of Republicans who believe Obama was not born in the U.S.; and the staggering 50 percent of Republicans who believe the 2012 election was stolen by President Obama using voter fraud, even though Romney lost by a significant margin. This fact-resistant base can be manipulated to do the NRA’s bidding.
8. A Fight Over Gun Control Is Exactly What the NRA Wants — The NRA is a gun rights advocacy group. Its major basis for fundraising is its claim that gun rights are threatened. It thrives on conflict, not on compromise. The NRA will, no doubt, feature its opposition to any proposed gun control legislation in fund-raising appeals to its base.
9. The NRA is Highly Lucrative for Its Leaders — Consequently, the NRA’s leadership will likely resist solutions which permanently resolve gun control issues. Wayne LaPierre is paid approximately $1 million a year, and has been the CEO for about 20 years. The NRA’s chief political strategist and lobbyist is paid about $600,000 a year; its other officers also receive lucrative compensation packages. Compromise, and a permanent solution to America’s gun discussion, wouldn’t be good for their compensation. If a broad compromise were reached, removing gun control from the political agenda for the next 20 years — why would the NRA need LaPierre and a highly-paid lobbying staff?
10. President Obama Faces Multiple Challenges and Must Prioritize — The president needs GOP cooperation to: resolve the fiscal cliff; obtain confirmation of new Cabinet officers; handle potential conflicts in the Middle East; undertake long-term entitlement reform; achieve immigration reform and much else. Gun control legislation could be lost in the shuffle or, as part of some grand bargain, sacrificed entirely.
Real and effective solutions are possible, but achieving them will be a tough battle.
This piece is cross-posted from Huffington Post with permission.
4 Responses to “10 Reasons Stricter Gun Regulation Will Be Difficult to Achieve in America”
Crocodile Tears Obama is a Fraud from the most basic level through and through. Why is he and his wife and his children protected by heavily armed security personnel wherever they go at our expense, yet he wants to strip us of our ability to protect ourselves? This is like having taxpayers pay to have his bathroom cleaned and sanitized every time he decides to relieve himself while telling us we are not allowed to own the mops buckets and cleaning supplies needed to clean our own bathooms. Instead of destroying us and our rights to take care of ourselves, this Fraud should enforce the appropriate laws to protect America and its citizens from events perpetrated by his own Justice Department such as "Fast and Furious".
The extent of the massive power grab being planned by Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein is now frighteningly clear: According to Senator Feinstein’s own website, any gun owner who currently owns a semi-automatic utility rifle will either have the gun confiscated or be fingerprinted and photographed like a common criminal.
To implement this unprecedented gun registration scheme, its proponents plan a massive expansion of police powers via the National Firearms Act and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms – an expansion which will undoubtedly waste untold billions of dollars.
Beyond even erosion of my Second Amendment rights, the Obama/Biden/Feinstein power grab attacks the core freedoms enjoyed by Americans. I expect you to stop this legislation dead in its tracks, and will be monitoring your actions via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts. I would only support new laws that would have prevented the Sandy Hook school massacre.
1. Hippa laws need to be tweeked so Police know who is mentally un stable or who seeking treatment. Mental health facilities should report the addresses and conditions of anyone being treated. I know this will violate their privacy but it's either their's or ours and we gun owners did not cause the problem it's been mentally disturbed people doing these shootings.
2. Any home with firearms in it should have a secure storage area for firearms if someone is mentally ill or being treated for this illness is living in the home with firearms. Police need to know who has a problem and social workers or medical facility professionals could check about firearms in those homes and get compliance with the law and verifying they then have a way to secure the firearms.
I see no reason why gun owners in general should face any sanctions whatsoever for the situation that led to most shootings since 1999. I know some won't like it but if you look at the steps that led to the shooting and the above was in place the shooter would have had to have gotten his guns some other way and that was is already covered by law and he had already failed by trying his local gun store.
This is as far as the gun lobby and gun owners should go. And we can address any un seen circumstances as just happened as they arise and re asses.
Am I saying metal patients need to become second class citizens? Not really the law I suggest would govern those around the Patient not the patient themselves.
How to enforce it? It would go something like this. Police know where the patience are so a social worker is dispatched to the home to ask, "Pardon me but do you happen to have guns in the home?" You see a gun safe or a lockable gun cabinet in the home is required now if a mental health patient is living in the home. Would you mind if we were to see the secure storage for the gun or guns you have? Home too messy now? We would be happy to review the recite you have either now or in the morning if you don't mind. Oh you have had a safe for years and no recite? We can accept any other way you can prove you have one. Here borrow our digital camera here is how you work it….Thank you very much." Doctors could create threat classifications for various levels of mental illness and threats the patients may or may not present to society.
It would only become a police matter if the home's subject became un cooperative. This would address every issue we have seen from the Sandy Hook shooting and it would not engage in collective guilt for law abiding gun owners the anti gun lobby and socialists are so fond of.
I don't think it makes sense to compare the risks faced by a sitting President (especially one who is vilified so maliciously despite being a thoughtful, intelligent family man) with those faced by the average citizen. Of course, everyone in the US is protected by the police at public expense and anyone who is not a felon or insane can have a gun in their home (by virtue of a 2008 Supreme Court decision that Obama supported), so I am not sure in what way you are being stripped of any right. The analogy to the mops makes no sense since whether you have a mop or not is not a threat to others. As we saw in Newtown, guns owned by law abiding citizens have a way of killing innocent victims, so it is wise to at least consider if there are reasonable ways in which we can reduce the deaths caused by the guns of law abiding citizens.
Restricting the rights of the innocent will not deter those who are intent on becoming the guilty. Do you thinkn criminals will obey laws on acquiring certain weapons or magazines? No. Everyone will agree that the police need these weapons and capacities…but who is it that the police are dealing with that they need them? The same general public that we face each day. Why is it they need them to deal with the same people we face and we don't? When the rights of millions are impacted by the delusional actions of a very few people, then the people have ceased being represented by those making the laws.