As 2023 comes to an end, there have been over 40,000 deaths due to gun violence. Losing lives to bullets has become a common theme in America that has been upheld by those who are working in the White House.
As 2023 comes to an end, there have been over 40,000 deaths due to gun violence. Losing lives to bullets has become a common theme in America that has been upheld by those who are working in the White House.
Allison Mayhew

EDITORIAL: Power Politics

National Rifle Associations hidden spending prevents needed gun control legislation

When I was in kindergarten, the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place in Newtown, Connecticut. In six months, I plan on walking across the stage with my cap and gown, and receiving my diploma — a moment that was stripped from those young children with the pull of a trigger.

Two weeks ago, I watched my cross-town school go into lockdown because of a potential threat in the building. While writing this editorial, I was interrupted to practice an active shooter drill. In a never-ending loop, our country still faces the unrelenting endangerment of gun violence. 

In the past 10 years, there have been over 4,283 mass shootings and 54 active shooter school shootings. Repeatedly, places designed for education and family fun are being massacred, overtaken by violence and death. Countless shootings in schools, shopping malls, bowling alleys and clubs — yet nothing happens, all in the name of so-called “constitutional freedom.”

Gun-motivated traumatic events are often followed by many civilians protesting for the right to their lives. Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, special-interest group The National Rifle Association continues fighting tirelessly against any sort of gun control.

Amidst an era of extreme division in our country, the NRA has effectively found a cause to rally with gun extremists. To do so, they have politicized gun control by framing it as a battle of freedoms that falls between party lines. 

However, there should be nothing political about simply stopping the mass murders of our communities — the country can largely agree on this. An astounding 83% of the American population believes that gun violence is a moderately to very big problem, according to Pew Research.

With such a large U.S. population all agreeing on the same thing, it raises the question — “Why hasn’t there been change?” 

The lack of movement and policy can be attributed to the NRA’s big bucks and tampering with the law-making progress. By writing checks and hosting fancy dinner parties, democracy has been overrun by the influence of money in politics. 

The group has established so much power that it was able to successfully inhibit Congress from passing any major gun reform for decades. Meanwhile, these shootings continue, as 21 victims tragically died just this past year in the Uvalde Elementary School shooting.

Despite the NRA’s efforts, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed on June 25, 2022. The bill makes important strides, though there was no movement made to nationally require background checks, waiting periods or outlaw the weapons at the forefront of mass shootings. 

The bill was largely seen as a first step towards gun reform in America, though it is evidently not enough. As of Oct. 26, there were 421 mass shootings and 35,000 deaths from gun violence so far in 2023, according to ABC.

In 2021, the NRA spent $4.2 million on lobbying, the act of influencing Congress members. They focus on giving gifts and money to Congress members who refuse to compromise when it comes to even moderate gun safety measures that would save lives. For those who don’t comply, the NRA has the threat of funneling funds into opposing candidates’ campaigns. Thus, the candidate could either risk their reelection, or conform to the NRA and its agenda. 

Politics should be about compromise, meeting in the middle and representing the majority of Americans, not bowing down to the few gun extremists with money. The NRA reported $329 million in total revenue in 2020 alone; with this money and its affiliate “non-profits,” the group uses its extensive resources to influence politics in a way even the government cannot.

In 2010, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of Citizens United, changing American democratic elections forever. Corporations and organizations can now spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Tens of millions of dollars are being spent to dominate the political atmosphere of gun control, all behind closed doors. 

This is done by funneling money through the NRA’s affiliate non-profits; essentially a corrupt form of political money laundering. Unmonitored, presumably large amounts of money are being spent to uphold an unpopular political agenda.

While the NRA preaches freedom, it is restricting the public from seeing its true effect on our elections. Its influence over the political sphere is an unbalance of power, killing thousands of Americans. 

As citizens the most powerful tool we have is to vote for the change we want to see. By registering to vote, providing electoral funds to smaller donors and voting for enhanced disclosure laws when it comes to political campaigns, we can begin to put an end to the NRA’s heavy hold on the second amendment. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Free Press Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *