“They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
All of us are shocked and stunned by the events that occurred yesterday in Newtown, a lovely New England hamlet straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The young children who were massacred, the principal and school psychologist who bravely confronted the killer and never came back, the teacher who apparently hid her students in cabinets and closets then told the gunman they were in the gym. (He killed her.)
Unlike Hurricane Sandy, where so many generous souls of our good country came together to help a region ravaged by storm (as Americans always do in a tragedy) a lot of folks on Twitter have asked what we can do to help, what we can do to try to ensure such a thing never happens again.
There are a few things.
We joke about lawyers, but a few of this country’s most talented legal minds chose not to work for high-paying glorious positions but work tirelessly and without the lawyer salary to stand up to the NRA, playing modern-day Davids to quite possibly one of the biggest Goliaths this country knows. The NRA is probably America’s most powerful lobbying group, if not in reality then in the minds of legislators who fear it.
Here’s a few things to know about the influence and power of the NRA:
“I believe the NRA has as much sway on Capitol Hill as any lobbying group in the country,” says Mike Castle, a former Republican congressman from Delaware. “They’ve done a very effective job of convincing people that, whether it’s true or not … they have the power to completely limit their futures in elected office if they don’t cooperate.”
The NRA raised $227 million dollars to spend in 2010 on its agenda.
(The NRA) has opposed every gun control measure at the state and federal level. It has challenged several of them in court, winning a few spectacular cases at the conservative Supreme Court. It has overturned several of them on election day, and threatened elected lawmakers with harsh payback if they vote against them.
Do Americans agree with the NRA agenda?
No. No, we don’t.
Here’s what the majority of Americans believe about gun control:
86 percent support requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter where they purchase the weapon or from whom they buy it. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
63 percent favor a ban on high capacity magazines or clips. (January 2011 CBS News poll)
69 percent support “limiting the number of guns a person could purchase in a given time frame.” (April 2012 Ipsos/Reuters poll)
66 percent support requiring gun owners to register their firearms as part of a national gun registry. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
88 percent support banning those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
These are majority positions. Yet, there seems to be a NRA stranglehold on Congress, a misrepresentation of Americans’ views.
Do you want smart gun laws, like the ones above?
Here’s what you can do to take action:
Sign this White House petition to try to introduce the issue of gun control legislature in Congress.
Call the White House and tell President Obama that we need smart gun laws signed into law, and that the majority of Americans agree. 202-456-1414.
Volunteer or support in any way the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who attempts with funds much less significant than the NRA to try to enact smart gun laws in Congress, and on the state and local level. They have incredible databases of studies on gun control studies that might convince even the most gun rights advocate that control is a good thing.
Thank you for listening.