Money is not irrelevant, and the NRA and related groups do spend a lot of it. But even if the NRA and other gun groups didn't spend a dime on campaigns, they would still be in a very powerful position for two reasons:In July, Amber Philips reported at The Washington Post that many Americans think that arming law-abiding citizens is an effective response:
- The NRA and its allies have millions of dedicated single-issue voters who are deeply passionate about their Second Amendment rights; gun control advocates do not.
- Rural and suburban areas with higher rates of gun ownership and deeper passion for the Second Amendment are overrepresented in Congress.
It's an echo of a familiar theme from NRA head Wayne LaPierre. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said frequently amid the more recent gun-control debate.
And most Americans agree with this logic, according to a 2014 Pew Research Poll. Since the 2012 Newtown, Conn., massacre of 26 people, including 20 school children, the poll found a nine-point rise in the number of Americans who think gun ownership could "protect people from becoming victims of crime."