Salon: Corruption Stopped Gun Control

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, file)

Gun control is something the anti-Second Amendment establishment has been pushing for years now. They haven’t really gotten the traction they wanted, and they’re still more than a little bitter about it. Especially since they were convinced they could run roughshod over the rest of America after the last election, only they can’t.

And they’re still bitter about it.

Over at Salon, writer Amanda Marcotte tries to imply that the only reason it never happened was corruption:

uring the 2020 Democratic primary, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made fighting corruption her number one priority. It may not have seemed that way in the press, which tended to characterize the senior senator from Massachusetts as a female Sen. Bernie Sanders. Most coverage focused heavily on her bold economic ideas, such as a wealth tax. But when she was actually asked what her major focus in politics was, Warren never hesitated to say that fighting corruption should come first — because of her commitment to passing progressive economic policies.

“The rich and the powerful have been calling the shots in Washington forever and ever,” Warren told Vox’s Ezra Klein in 2019, explaining why she was intent on passing a massive anti-corruption bill meant to curtail the influence of lobbyists and influence of moneyed interests on Capitol Hill.

“Look closely, and you’ll see — on issue after issue, widely popular policies are stymied because giant corporations and billionaires who don’t want to pay taxes or follow any rules use their money and influence to stand in the way of big, structural change,” she wrote in her plan announcement.

Corruption isn’t a sexy issue, but focusing attention on it can pay huge dividends when it comes to advancing progressive causes. Take gun control, for instance. Decades of rational argumentation and emotional appeals did little to move the needle, policy-wise. Even in the face of children being murdered in schools repeatedly, Republican politicians have successfully blocked all bills, and Democrats didn’t even bother making it a priority when they got power. Eventually, however, gun control advocates started to look away from the ideological arguments and toward the influence of the gun industry, through its main lobbying arm, the NRA.

Once they did that, real progress started to happen. Investigations revealed that the NRA was a thoroughly corrupt organization and that its leadership was on the take. Then the lawsuits started to fly. Now the organization is in very real danger of collapse — not because of its views, but because of its corruption. It might be too late, and Republicans may be too dug in on their gun mania to ever start to moderate. But without the NRA in their ear all the time, there could be a real chance to persuade even just a few Republicans to support common sense reforms that are backed by the majority of Americans. But only if the NRA is gone — and coming at them from a corruption angle was the path to this possibility.

And yet, with the NRA is the weakest it’s ever been, gun control still isn’t happening.

I was about to write “What Marcotte fails to realize…” then recognized that she’s missing a great many things.

For one thing, even with all the allegations against the NRA, not a single one finds that they’re actually buying members of Congress. They donate to campaigns like everyone else, but for all the ills they’re accused of, all of the alleged corruption is internal.

Oddly, if that money was misused, it should have helped gun control’s case. It didn’t.

Meanwhile, Marcotte is mysteriously silent on the money spent by her preferred side of the issue. Over the last several election cycles, anti-Second Amendment groups outspent the NRA by a wide margin.

Why is it somehow acceptable for Michael Bloomberg–a single, wealthy individual who is trying to sway entire elections–to spend money however he wants but not for groups like the NRA?

See, what Marcotte is trying to do is make excuses for her side’s failures. Oh, she claims that gun control is popular, but the truth is that while polling suggests there’s broad support for it, all that really shows is that its broad support for vague gun control ideas, many of which could be taken to mean support for laws already on the books.

Far too often, support for things like universal background checks, for example, falls apart when people realize just what it entails. It’s generally not just sales between strangers that get hit, but often even passing a firearm onto your child that can require a background check. Even loaning a gun could be problematic in some cases.

Once people see that, even those who ostensibly support the general idea, they decide to pass.

The reason gun control has failed to thrive in Congress is because of things like that coupled with millions of Americans–not figments of Marcotte’s nightmares, but real people–have promised their lawmakers that if they fail to defend the Second Amendment, they can vote in someone who will.

That’s how the system is supposed to work, right? Marcotte’s all in favor of democracy, apparently, so this is exactly what she supports.

Or is that corruption too?