If you’re somehow still confused by how Americans can watch tragedy after tragedy happen at the hands of white supremacists, angry misogynists, and homegrown terrorists with assault rifles, and yet see nothing done to stem the tide of violence and murder that only the weapons of war can make possible, you’re not alone.
People across the country are perplexed at the fact that we as citizens have raised our voices in unison and called for common-sense gun legislation that’s never come — waiting periods, universal background checks, and a ban on semiautomatic weapons all have majority support in every poll. In fact, in the last gun-related Quinnipiac poll, even the open-ended and specifically-worded question Do you support or oppose stricter gun laws in the United States got sixty-one percent approval, and more than three-quarters said they supported requiring would-be gun buyers to actually get a license first.
You know, like when you want to go fishing.
But I mean, you read the title. It’s the same story for years. I won’t go into the detailed history of the National Rifle Association, but suffice it to say, it is not the gun safety and sporting-promotion club it once was.
There was a time when the organization performed what many would consider a public service: Guns are legal and have been since the Second Amendment, so why not form a group dedicated to the sane proliferation and safe use of what can be deadly tools?
Then capitalism shoved its finger in the trigger guard and the NRA became less and less about gun use and more and more about gun sales. And being the natural partners they are, Republican politicians weren’t about to miss out on any of that capitalist cheddar either and they basically told the NRA they’d do anything they ever wanted.
Then Republicans got a captain who made sure everyone on the team was single-minded: No gun reforms whatsoever, no matter how bipartisan, no matter how much the public wants it, no matter what. Any capitulation is seen as TOTAL capitulation.
You know who I’m talking about. Kentucky’s own Mitch McConnell, who treats guns a lot like he treats Russia these days: Admit nothing, allow no legislation to even be debated, and cover up the reports about it.
Disclosure reports for political spending show that the NRA has rewarded that loyalty handsomely. In just the last six months, the gun promoters have spent $1.6 million on lobbying members of the House and Senate to keep any legislation from moving forward. Mitch McConnell has personally gotten around 5 grand from these merchants of death, but there’s little doubt that he’s seen nearly every penny of it pass through his hands — the NRA knows that the House is a lost cause, since Dems have controlled it since January. But Mitch oversees the Senate PACs, and that’s where the lion’s share of that quarter million per month has gone.
In return, McConnell has single-handedly blocked all legislation, even for the gun reforms that some members of his OWN CAUCUS support.
I guess you could but an AR-15 to protect yourself. Ironically, however, the NRA didn’t buy a gun at all. They bought a Senator.