The NRA may win this long gun game even if it seems to be in a terrible strait
I’ve come, I know this is obvious, but it is still important not to forget: an important reason why gun culture is so mature in the United States is the heavy use of gun battles in movies and TV. Westerns. Crime show. Spy movie. War pictures. Most action movies. Many of these dramas have normalized the idea of ??shooting someone to protect your things instead of your life and limbs. In contrast, there are hardly any models that can be said to be just crazy or very upset people wielding weapons to suppress them. I want to know whether the NRA and the gun company started paying for the product placement in the show very early.
Author: Robert Spitzer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Cortland College, State University of New York.Originally published on dialogue
No observer of contemporary gun politics will notice that there is a discordant disconnect between the two distinct trajectories of today’s gun rights movement.
on the one hand, More states allow Americans to carry weapons Disclosing in public without permission, the gun rights movement may be about to become a major event Supreme Court victoryOn the other hand, the National Rifle Association, which is advocating on behalf of gun owners, faces Existential crisisThis is mainly due to the NRA’s own mistakes.
As a political scientist who has studied Gun politics and policy For more than 30 years, I believe that there is no precedent for this contradiction. In addition, there is no reason to believe that NRA issues will affect the way the court handles gun rights cases.
2 distinct lawsuits are pending
Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Brunn, To challenge state law, which requires the authorities to exercise discretion when issuing concealed pistol carry permits.When the judge heard Oral argument November 3, 2021, most of which Seems skeptical Regarding the constitutionality of the law-despite the fact that it is First promulgated in 1911And has withstood legal challenges in the past.
At the same time, because it marks 150th anniversary Since its founding in 1871, the NRA has looked like an organization in danger.
Costly and protracted litigation Exposed a pattern Generous benefits for senior officials, Including private jets, designer clothing, and vacations at expensive resorts — as well as numerous crony and sweetheart contracts.
Many of these allegations of misconduct are concretized as 160 page litigation Proposed by the New York Attorney General’s Office in August 2020.It calls Dissolution of NRA And remove Wayne Lapierre As its chief executive officer.
Non-profit gun control A group led by former Rep. Gabby GiffordsThose who survived being shot at close range are also suing the NRA. Giffords Group accused of financial misconduct and possible violations of campaign finance laws.
return, Some NRA board members have resigned In recent years, because of their opposition to the organization’s track record. In September 2021, a dissident board member called for the replacement of the entire board and requested Lapierre’s end.
In November, the National Public Radio reported Secret recording A teleconference between the top leaders of the organization in 1999 Columbine High School Shooting It further tarnished the reputation of the NRA.
The recording reveals a frank discussion of the organization’s public relations strategy, and mocks some of the more enthusiastic members of the organization as “hillies” and “fruit cakes.”
The organization has not released clear information on how any of these affect membership. Because NRA gets 40% of its annual income Judging from the reported stagnant membership dues, this risk may affect its bottom line.
What happened in court
However, the national reputation of the National Rifle Association may not be that important.
First, although the NRA has long played a key role in the Second Amendment litigation, many affiliated and non-affiliated organizations have taken on the task of challenging laws restricting gun rights, such as the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association-the case plaintiff. Pending Supreme Court cases. similar Specific state The organization is all over the country.
Second, it can be said that more importantly, the recent Republican presidents have achieved remarkable success in appointing a large number of young and very good members of the federal court system. Conservative juristThey expressed great sympathy for the extensive interpretation of gun rights under the Second Amendment.Their interpretation goes further than the standard set by the court in 2008 DC v. Heller The ruling, at that time, the court determined for the first time that Americans have the right to own a pistol at home for personal protection.
Although he only served one term, the president Donald Trump is particularly successful In filling vacancies in the judiciary, it is largely due to the leader of the Republican Senate Mickey McConnell’s efforts.
The three conservative Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett, Has previously expressed support for the rights of gun owners.Judges Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who have served longer in court, often expressed dissatisfaction with gun rights Not getting enough respect In previous court rulings.
Public opinion is changing
There is another paradox that may also be important: Most Americans, especially Democrats, continue to support stricter gun laws, But the Americans are Buy a gun, Mainly pistols, at record speeds.
It is worth noting that support for stricter gun control A decrease of 5 percentage points in the past year According to a Gallup poll conducted in October 2021, this percentage has dropped to 52%. This decline occurred after a 7-percentage drop measured by Gallup a year ago. Despite this, the polls still reflect overwhelming support for the existing gun laws: only 11% of people are in favor of reducing the strictness of the gun laws.
Record 1.2 million background checksIt is the agent of gun sales, which will be carried out in two separate single weeks in March 2021. Was incited Concerns arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Black People’s Fate” campaign, and demonstrations related to the 2020 election.
However, only about 20% of these purchases are new gun owners.In most cases, the national There are an estimated 72 million gun owners They are increasing their gun collection.