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View Diary: The real reason the NRA opposes background checks - with poll (70 comments)

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  •  Missing from the entire debate (17+ / 0-)

    appears to be any consideration of balancing of rights.

    Even if there was a right not to have a background check that right would be colliding with my right to safety by not having a gun fall into the wrong hands.

    When you balance these two rights, my right to safety outweighs the rights of anyone wanting to own a deadly weapon.  

    •  Amen. This is what it's all about - EVERYONE's (16+ / 0-)

      rights.  The NRA has been very successful at framing this as a battle to save these "Second Amendment rights" that are under attack, and an even better job at leaving out those - very inconvenient - rights of others.

      •  We have had some diaries on the contributions (10+ / 0-)

        of the NRA to various candidates in House races. In nearly all cases the amounts averaged less than $5,000, per election cycle. A typical House race now costs about $1 million to be competitive. How much influence can $5,000 buy when a candidate needs $1 million?

        If you would like to actually receive some feedback it would be useful to have a poll with thoughtful questions which would not include the two in the poll you have published.

        Regarding the subject of your diary I support universal background checks on all firearms sales or transfers.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:28:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for your comment. Nothing sums up the NRA's (9+ / 0-)

          influence over Congress like this blog by the Sunlight Foundation does (portions below, but whole post is well worth reading, LINK, particularly for their graphics showing the magnitude of the NRA influence in the House/Senate):

          Of the 435 members of the new House, 205 – or 47 percent – received some money from the NRA during the last campaign. More than half have taken NRA money at some point in their career.  Of the Senate’s 100 members, 42 received contributions this past cycle and exactly half have received contributions at some point in their career. All told, 88 percent of Republicans now in Congress have received a contribution from the NRA at some point in their career, as have 11 percent of Democrats.

          The NRA’s beneficiaries include key players such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Sessions, one of the NRA’s top recipients ($4,950 this cycle, $64,000 over his career), will serve as the chairman of the House Rules Committee next year, a post that puts him in a position to decide what legislation gets onto the House floor, and what does not. Reid received $4,950 from the NRA the last time he ran (2010), and has received $10,450 over his career.

          In the House, the majority party can exercise near complete control over the legislative agenda, and that majority party next year will still be the Republicans – a party where the NRA has many friends. We find that 81 percent of the House Republican Conference (189 of 233 members) received some money from the NRA in their most recent campaigns, and 88 percent (204 of 233) have received NRA money at some point in their careers; Among House Democrats, 8 percent (16 of 201) received NRA money this cycle, and 10 percent (21 of 201) have ever received NRA money.

          ...

          In the Senate, 84 percent of Republicans (38 of 45) received NRA money during their most recent election, and 93 percent (42 of 45) have received contributions at some point. Among Democrats, 8 percent (4 of 53) received contributions the last time they ran, and 15 percent (8 of 53) have received contributions at some point.

          ...

          More than anything, these numbers help us to identify who the NRA considers its friends in Congress, and something about the closeness of those friendships.

          It is also important to note that the vast majority of the NRA’s $18.6 million in political spending this past cycle went to independent expenditures, including $13.1 million into the presidential race.  ...  While the NRA’s spending this election failed to yield the desired outcomes, the group spends at levels that politicians both fear and crave, which gives it power.

          ...

          It’s also important to note that for decades, there have been practically no resources and pressures on the other side of the issue. Members know that opposition to gun control brings political rewards (the support of the NRA) while support of gun control brings only political liabilities (the opposition of the NRA). Without a group on the other side, the calculus for members is clear, and explains why the United States has among the most permissive gun ownership laws in the world.

          Open Secrets has a great little tool to see how much money is thrown around and to whom it goes.

          It is not just the sums of money that they have been getting for decades, it is also the threats that they are given.

          As far as not liking the poll, I am sorry.  I cannot change it and include any suggested wording, but you are free to write your own diary and include a poll that is to your liking.

          •  here is another way they funnel money into (9+ / 0-)

            elections...

            The Law Enforcement Alliance of America was founded with NRA funding in 1991, when Congress was debating the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Police groups had come out strongly in favor of the bill, so the NRA founded the alliance to oppose it.

            The Alliance refuses to disclose its donors. “The NRA’s tax documents, however, reveal that it gave at least $2 million to the alliance between 2004 and 2010. Previous reports indicate that the NRA donated $500,000 annually to the organization from 1995 to 2004, which would total more than $6 million,” according to a February 2013 report from the Center for American Progress (CAP). The Alliance publicly opposes gun violence prevention measures such as background checks and keeping guns away from people on the federal government’s “Terrorist Watchlist.”

            Think Progress


            We are not broke, we are being robbed.

            by Glen The Plumber on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:19:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  DOC - that's my point the actual $$$ from the NRA (5+ / 0-)

            are peanuts in the context that a House race costs $1 million (some up to $10 million) and Senate races start at $10 million and go up from there. The data you quoted are the same amounts in my comment, inconsequential.

            It's not about the money, there has to be something else that gives the NRA its political leverage.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:56:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When that measly money from the NRA has been (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Glen The Plumber, coquiero

              given over decades and nearly half of all Congress (mostly Republicans by far) have been on the dole for so long, they certainly feel indebted and the NRA expects results for their contributions - made very clear in their "grading" of voting records, which is just another way to intimidate these congress-critters that they own. On top of it, the threat that they will support a primary challenger (or even someone from the other party of they think they can own them too).  On races like these, the NRA can spend huge amounts against incumbents that "betray" them, even if they actually don't, the threat is enough to get them to go along. Think of as nuclear detente - the threat of being annihilated by the US or the USSR kept many countries in line and obedient during the cold war.

              How can 46 senators have voted against a watered down background check bill?  The 4 Republicans that "betrayed" them have nothing to fear (granpa McCain is impervious to their threats - maverick that he is, Collins can't be touched, and Toomey/Kirk are the best that the NRA could hope for in their respective states). The 5 Dems that betrayed the people, truly fear the NRA's money because they are in states that there are lots of options for the NRA that would be better than them.  That leaves 37 Republicans that can't think of any reason to obstruct this other than the same old tired reasons.

              •  You forgot something. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                theatre goon, VClib, FrankRose

                Sure, 5K for each election of a member of congress for a decade becomes 25K (two year cycle).

                But don't forget that it is also over 5 campaigns. At 1M each, that comes to 5 Million dollars.

                And the NRA's piddly 5K per cycle is nothing near what the various chamber of commerce / ALEC contributors will donate.

                Not to mention that the NRA doesn't hire the spouse / children / brothers / sisters / parents of the candidate for sweet positions on the Board Of Directors at 100K EACH YEAR.

                The NRA's strength has never been paying for support. The NRA's strength has always been in their ability to get their 5 million members to jam phone lines and show up at town halls and visit offices and send letters/faxes and put stickers on their car to be noticed by a candidate in traffic and so on.

                The NRA's strength isn't in money, it's in their people.

                The OFA campaign of 2008 functioned on the same principle of people over money. Small donations were great, but if faced with the choice between you giving them $15 or spending an hour phonebanking / canvassing they preferred to have your time.

                Look at the size of the respective organizations. NRA has 5 million people and thus takes a headquarters size complex plus staff to run it. The brady group has far fewer members and needs barely one floor of a 14 story building. NRA has less money after staffing expenses, but plenty of people as compared to MAIG which has bloomberg's BILLIONS but is so starved for people that it refuses to remove people from the rolls when they leave or even die!

                It's not the money, it's the membership. Still an M word, just not the one you keep pointing at.

                Now get yourself a song to sing, and sing it till you're done.

                by JayFromPA on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 07:11:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So we must redouble our efforts to match the NRA's (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Glen The Plumber, TheFern, coquiero

                  members.  That we agree on!  It is exactly what Moms Demand Action the Brady Campaign and many other groups are trying to do.  From Moms Demand Action:

                  The most important thing we can do is incredibly easy – just call your Representative. The other side is calling five times as often even though there are more of us! Members of Congress think we don’t care. Of course that’s not true, so please take three minutes while you sip your morning coffee or Diet Coke and call their offices.
                  (I added the bold, in their website it is highlighted in yellow)

                  Until the grass-roots match the NRA members the NRA will stay in power over nearly half of our Congress.

            •  It's the people. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon, VClib, FrankRose

              The NRA's strength isn't money. It's the membership.

              Now get yourself a song to sing, and sing it till you're done.

              by JayFromPA on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 06:30:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is certainly one of their strengths, accor- (5+ / 0-)

                ding to the Sunlight Foundation:

                The NRA also derives substantial influence from its membership base of more than four million members, many of whom look to the NRA voting scorecards as key inputs in their voting decisions. Half of 113th Senate gets at least an “A-“ rating from the NRA. In 2010, the NRA had a $243 million budget, dwarfing all other gun issue groups.

                It’s also important to note that for decades, there have been practically no resources and pressures on the other side of the issue. Members know that opposition to gun control brings political rewards (the support of the NRA) while support of gun control brings only political liabilities (the opposition of the NRA). Without a group on the other side, the calculus for members is clear, and explains why the United States has among the most permissive gun ownership laws in the world.

                (emphasis mine)

                So grass-roots support is important, and we are part of the grass-roots.  Support for sensible regulations of firearms is gaining traction and the NRA will eventually be defeated on this issue.  Sadly it will take time and many more innocent people will be shot.

          •  One of the NRA's 'top recipitents' got less than (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shamash, JayFromPA

            a measly five grand......and you think this illustrates the NRA's influence over Congress?

            Fucking seriously?

            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

            by FrankRose on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:30:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  "right to safety"? What Amendment is that? (0+ / 0-)

      Does your "right to safety" outweigh the rights of anyone wanting to be free from being wiretapped without a warrant?

      Does your "right to safety" also outweigh the right of criminals to a fair and impartial trial?

      Exactly how many Rights are outweighed by your "right to safety"?

      Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

      by FrankRose on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 12:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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