"Explainer" fails to understand gun lobby's power

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

Explainers are articles where the media tries to explain something. In order for the explainer to be any good, the writer has to actually understand what they’re talking about in the first place. That makes sense, right?


So when the media tries to explain the gun lobby, in particular why gun rights advocates seem to have so much power, one shouldn’t be shocked to find out that they don’t really get it.

That’s what happened with this “explainer.”

Another day in the United States witnessed another mass shooting – this time at a sweet 16th birthday party in Alabama.

Four people have been left dead including a high school senior and 28 injured in the city of Dadeville, which is 92 kilometers northeast of Montgomery, Alabama.

That same day a shooting in Kentucky’s Louisville left two dead and four injured – this just days after a gunman at a bank killed five employees.

And where did the 2024 Republican hopefuls including Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, and Nikki Haley spend their weekend?

At the National Rifle Association Convention in Indiana – vowing to stand up for guns.

Let’s take a closer look at why the US gun lobby is so powerful:

First, they try to frame this as if these officials opted to go to the NRA convention instead of visiting Dadeville or something. That’s not remotely what happened. They were already committed for the NRA convention long before Dadeville happened. They honored their commitment.


I’m not saying they’d have gone to Dadeville otherwise–we still don’t know enough about what happened as of this writing for them to have bothered–only that it’s not like they snubbed anyone by going to Indianapolis.

Second, what few seem to understand is that the NRA isn’t the gun lobby. They’re the proverbial 800 lbs gorilla of the gun lobby, but they’re not the totality of it.

Throughout the rest of the piece, though, they never really explain why the gun lobby, as a whole, is so powerful. They even suggest that the NRA’s influence is waning without actually explaining why the anti-gun groups still can’t get gun control passed federally.

The reason is that the NRA has never been the power in and of itself. The NRA has had power because it represented millions upon millions of gun owners and gun rights advocates. While its membership appears to be down, that’s not because people suddenly figure gun control is a good idea.

In fact, when I speak with former NRA members, their reason for leaving the organization rarely has anything to do with NRA officials having too firm of a stand against gun control. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Many feel the NRA is too squishy, that they’re too willing to compromise on gun rights.


Whether that’s true or not is irrelevant. What is relevant, though, is that these people may no longer be members, but they’re not going to just roll over for red flag laws or universal background checks.

This “explainer” never gets into any of that. Why? Because the writer doesn’t understand the gun lobby well enough to explain anything. They’re just regurgitating talking points provided by the gun control lobby. That’s not an explanation. That’s just propaganda.

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