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Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Real Sources of NRA Influence

Lee Drutman has a very smart take on the interest group politics of gun control:
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:
  • 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.
 In July, Amber Philips reported at The Washington Post that many Americans think that arming law-abiding citizens is an effective response:
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."