The NRA has gotten some criticism, including from yours truly. However, much of my personal ire was about what they weren’t doing.
Yet it seems that some took this idea that the NRA isn’t doing a particular thing–leading the charge against gun control–as some kind of capitulation that the gun rights lobby in and of itself is pretty much dead.
Sen. Chris Murphy, for example, said as much.
Sen. Murphy has long made clear his animus for the Second Amendment and the rights of America’s millions of gun owners, but what does he mean by “broken the back”?
It’s a curious comment, given that in just the last few years, NRA-backed constitutional carry has spread to more than a dozen states, bringing the total up to 27 states that get the government out of the way of this freedom. Beyond this, gun ownership has soared in the past few decades, with more-than-one-million background checks being conducted every month for almost four years running, according to data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Murphy also misses the strength of the NRA. Just look at the most-recent NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Indianapolis, Ind., where nearly 80,000 citizens attended in support of defending our constitutional rights.
With these examples in mind—as well as many others—Murphy’s claim that “we have now broken the back of the gun lobby” quickly falls apart. But this actually was just wishful thinking; he was referring to a gun-control law that was passed last year.
Not mentioned here–and not mentioned for what should be obvious reasons–is that the NRA is far from alone as part of the gun lobby. Gun Owners of America and the Firearms Policy Coalition are also parts of the fight to defend our rights, just to name a couple of others.
It’s not just them.
And the NRA has been busy as have other gun rights organizations are far from having their back broken. This fight is still going on and, perhaps more importantly, being won.
The majority of states have passed some kind of permitless carry. The Bruen decision has set a new standard for legal challenges to gun control laws, one that anti-gun states will have a hard time meeting. Congress is completely uninterested in passing more gun control laws.
In other words, while things could be a whole lot better, they could be a whole lot worse, too.
The gun lobby, which includes the NRA, hasn’t gone anywhere and they’re not likely to disappear. No backs have been broken on this side of the debate, despite Murphy’s fondest dreams.
And that’s really what this is. It’s Murphy’s own fever dream, a world he wants to see rather than the one he’s looking at.
The truth is that even if the NRA’s back were broken, there are tens of millions of gun owners who aren’t going to let Murphy and his bunch take away our rights without a fight. The gun lobby, as he frames it, isn’t going anywhere.
Murphy should get used to it.