There should be a category on the Jeopardy quiz show titled "Why So Many Shootings?" One answer would be "The reason why no U.S. gun laws change." The question would be "What is the National Rifle Association?"
The NRA pretty much owns the U.S. House and Senate when it comes to protecting the NRA political agenda. They have paid big bucks over the years to maintain control of the firearm agenda while also forcing a misguided interpretation of the second amendment.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, "Just over half (51 percent) of the members of Congress have received funding from the National Rifle Association's political action committee at some point in their political careers. And 47 percent received money from the NRA in the most recent race in which they ran. The numbers give insight into the depth and breadth of support that the nation's most powerful gun lobby commands. They also highlight the primary obstacle to quick action on gun control ..."
Just in case you need more proof that money equals power and access, consider the fact that in 2013 the NRA spent $3,410,000 for lobbying and $3,360,000 in 2014. No doubt those numbers will increase for 2015 and 2016 as public pressure mounts to pass stricter gun ownership laws.
Lobbying is one of the most important NRA activities in Washington because it means that the NRA's hired guns are meeting with influential members of congress on a regular basis and spending time with them and their staff while gaining access to information and the key players before the public even knows that any congressional action is being taken.
According to the website Open Secrets, the NRA gave out $984,152 in political contributions in 2014 and their outside spending was $28,212,718. Outside spending is money used to influence elections. That means the NRA has been working hard at buying and owning the candidates they want to see in office; candidates they know who will toe the NRA party line.
Proof of this kind of control was in plain view last week in the aftermath of yet another American mass shooting. A New York Daily News story noted that, "Senate Republicans voted against barring suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from getting guns on Thursday afternoon, parroting National Rifle Association arguments that doing so would strip some innocent people of their constitutional rights to gun access just a day after yet another massacre on U.S. soil."
They went on to explain, "A pair of Democratic measures -— one to close background check loopholes to make it harder for felons and the mentally ill from buying guns, another to ban those on the terror watch list from buying guns — both went down in flames against near-unanimous GOP opposition."
Not only is this kind of politics disgusting, but it comes close to being among some of the most immoral activities that politicians are capable of. The Democrats were hoping to pass a measure to set the stage for more substantial firearm reform and they knew this was a small token measure, but the NRA lackeys would not budge. After all, as far as I know, none of their friends or relatives have been killed or harmed by gun wielding killers.
Despite the fact that he has received substantial money from the NRA in the past, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seems to have grown a pair and was not afraid to call out the NRA on the Senate floor. According to the Daily News Reid said, "The NRA is a "quasi-militant wing of the Republican Party. Those who choose to do the NRA's bidding will be held accountable by our constituents. Something has to be done. We must take a stand. The American people are desperately looking for help, some help, any help."
Where will that help come from?