Why Lobbying for Gun Control has Become Impossible
By: Shanthi Hopley
Early 7 A.M. mornings are spent carrying out the usual protocol of making coffee, exercising or getting ready for work. However, on June 14th, 2017 things went astray when a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing baseball for an upcoming charity game.
Steve Scalise, the House of Representatives majority whip and Representative for Louisiana’s first congressional district, was among the four who were wounded in the callous shooting. The attack offered a prime case for Democratic lawmakers and anti-gun advocates to lobby against current gun laws in the United States. However, the Democrats’ lobbying efforts face a slippery slope with Congress rejecting more than one hundred gun control proposals since 2011.
Republicans have safeguarded their law-given right to guns by masking the issue of guns with violence prevention services, preventing much-needed action from being implemented. The NRA Executive Director, Chris Cox, and many others possess a wide held belief that tightening gun laws hinders American’s freedom, specifically, the 2nd Amendment.
The NRA has spent several million dollars lobbying to protect Americans’ access to guns. It is thus no surprise that Trump’s opposition to gun purchasing restrictions in the run-up to the election was a pivotal tenet that gained and secured Trump supporters, and since taking office, President Donald Trump has signed a resolution to block a rule restricting guns from the hands of mentally ill individuals, believing it to be an obstruction to US citizens’ constitutional freedom and personal safety. Such measures should come as a big, red warning sign for a nation that sells guns in stores such as Wal-Mart.
Previous massacres such as the 2016 Orlando Night Club, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School, and 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, are just a few of the gun attacks that have occurred in the United States and left innocent civilians wounded or dead. Moreover, the nation is accountable for an estimated 33,000 gun related deaths per year. Data published by the Watchdog Group indicates that 2017 is quickly making its way up to the 33,000 figure as the nation has already had 154 mass shootings, 6,880 gun-related deaths, and 13,504 firearm injuries.
Despite the concerning number of attacks, gun violence remains a controversial issue, as many believe the NRA’s conviction that lack of violence prevention and general gun education are the main causes of mass shootings. Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization specializing in solutions to prevent gun violence, vehemently believes the prominent issue to be addressed is violence prevention. The group came forward following Scalise’s attack and issued a statement indicating that the attack had little to do with access to guns and was rather the result of “prevention and education, about knowing the signs of someone who might commit an act of violence and how to stop it from happening in the first place.” Prevention programs may increase awareness about gun violence prevention, but unless Republican lawmakers get serious and take necessary action to crack down on gun control the nation cannot expect to reduce the number of gun-related deaths.
The Democratic party is addressing the who, what, and where of gun regulations as they continue to lobby for more restrictions on who can access guns, where they can be sold, and what kind of guns are valid to sell in the United States. Although the Democratic Party has encountered a series of lobbying impediments within the GOP and outside groups, they are not ready to surrender and will continue to fight for stricter gun laws and a safer nation.