For a lot of people on the anti-gun side of things, the NRA is the worst boogieman imaginable. They demonize the organization while also arguing that it’s all-powerful.
This demonization ramps up into high gear in the wake of school shootings. After all, to these people, the NRA is responsible for those shootings regardless of any other facts surrounding the incident.
Yet a recent study found something interesting about the NRA and counties that saw school shootings.
The research study for Science Advances published on Wednesday found that following a school shooting, total NRA donation money increases by 30% on average, while the number of NRA donors spikes by 40% in the counties hit by tragedy.
“It isn’t too surprising that people’s interest in safeguarding that ability to protect themselves and their families increases when there is more of a threat,” Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott told the Washington Examiner. “Giving to the NRA seems like an obvious way to help protect that ability.”
“It is well known that concealed handgun permits and gun sales increase after mass public shootings or violent crimes occur,” the author of More Guns, Less Crime pointed out.
The study conducted by Tobias Roemer, Ph.D. candidate at Nuffield College, Oxford University, shed light on “the mobilizing responses of gun rights supporters in the aftermath” of school shootings.
Roemer found that the “counter-mobilizing responses of the pro-gun political right after shootings” tend to be more “durable” than the efforts from gun control movements, which he described as “transient” in nature.
What happens is that there’s an awful tragedy. Both sides swoop in–metaphorically, at least–and debate the issue. Then, when something else happens, the gun control side basically jumps ship and moves on while the pro-gun side doesn’t.
In other words, we can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.
But the uptick in support from counties where this happens isn’t surprising. We’ve seen how the anti-gun side will try to weaponize any and every tragedy by blaming law-abiding gun owners and, as a result, a lot of pro-gun people will start stepping up their support for gun rights. They start with making donations, but the study also found that these folks get more involved politically as well.
They don’t just vote, they become activists.
And since the NRA is the target of the anti-gunners and the media, as Lott noted, it’s not overly shocking these folks look to the NRA as a target for their support.
The truth is that the rhetoric following a mass shooting is divisive. The fact that we start hearing about how this is because we don’t have an assault ban in place before we even know if such a weapon was used is going to rub a lot of people raw.
So they start looking to the other side. They look to us and see that we’re at least trying to wait for the facts of the case to emerge and for a lot of people, that’s sanity.
It probably helps with donations to the NRA from people who have never been involved in gun rights politics because they see the crazy and want no part of it.
I can’t say that I blame them.