American Government, Alexander Sections

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  • Special Interest Groups
  • #47885


    Since we are tasked with reading up on special interest groups, I thought it appropriate to ask your opinions on how the President is fairing (or failing) relative to the national gun control debate.

    Recall that not two weeks ago, the President publicly taunted Senator Pat Toomey for fearing the NRA by pointing out that his proposal didn’t include raising the age limit requirement for gun purchases. Now, the President is pushing forward with building up the federal background checks and an outright ban on “bump stocks”. He is even promoting the ridiculous idea of arming teachers (so…. you don’t have money for books, pencils or paper, but you have a budget for Glocks?). Most notable, however, is what is not in Trump’s own version of a gun restriction proposal — the very clause he derided Sen. Toomey about — no increase to the age limit. He purports that he is watching both legal and political directions, but I put forth that he is afraid of losing one of his main political and financial backers; the National Rifle Association. He is quickly backpedaling on his promises just to keep his allies close, even if, at the cost of kids’ lives.

    The NRA’s direct mission statement is “To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially with reference to the inalienable right of the individual American citizen guaranteed by such Constitution to acquire, possess, collect, exhibit, transport, carry, transfer ownership of, and enjoy the right to use arms.” It has become apparent to me that the NRA has gone much further than what it claims in this statement. I don’t see what protected rights they are defending these days. The Constitution may guarantee the right to own a gun, but now what type, style, size, or caliber. It doesn’t say you should be able to own 30-round magazines, perhaps because there wasn’t even the idea AR-15s back in the heyday when the Constitution was written. The NRA argues mute points and sadly, enough of America listens.

    Since 1998, the NRA spent roughly $144.3 million on outside spending, such as independent expenditures and another $45.9 million on federal lobbying, which totals to approximately $203.2 million on political activities. According to, the group’s 2017 lobbying budget alone was just over $5.1 million. With the availability of such funds, the NRA is able to file suits against chains like Dick’s and Walmart who announced a new policy of raising the minimum age for gun sales in their stores to 21. The organization also filed a suit against the State of Florida after it too passed a law raising the age requirement. With both cultural and financial support, this group has dug its claws deep into out political system to the point where even the President himself dares not rock its boat.

    In my view, we have to address arising issues as they relate to today. I can understand the hesitant mindset of a young nation; the need for security from a single powerful and encroaching government. But this is not that age and we are not those men. We have grown and matured as a nation. Our social, financial and political reach spans the globe. We continue to be represented by those we freely elect as part of a community, a city , a state, and as a country. We are all a part of a system that has carried us to accomplish so much. So why succumb to these dark little fears, unfounded as they are?

    I welcome your thoughts.

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