The NRA Doesn't Want Americans To Know The True Cost Of Gun Violence

The National Rifle Association has fought a war against gun control for decades, and they're winning. The organization should be held liable for mass shootings in the United States.

Activists protest outside NRA headquarters on the anniversary of Sandy Hook massacre

The massacre in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which 59 people died and more than 500 were injured has triggered a nationwide debate over responses to mass shootings in the United States.

It seems the United States is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t understand gun control does, indeed, stop gun violence. This is because of the monstrous influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

In the past year alone, the NRA contributed over $130,000 to politicians, and that’s not including the money they contributed to lobbyists and other gun rights advocacy groups.

Politicians are afraid to even mention the words “gun control,” and President Donald Trump downright refused to comment on the issue at all during his visit to Las Vegas on Wednesday. That’s how heavily the NRA influences the discussion on guns, and the organization needs to be held liable for the damage their greedy interests have caused.

In 2012, a white male with a history of mental illness mowed down 20 innocent first-grade children with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle — similar to the weapon Stephen Paddock used to rain fire on nearby concert-goers from a hotel window in Las Vegas. At the time of the Sandy Hook shooting, 86 percent of the American people supported universal background checks in order to deny dangerous people the ability to buy guns.

The country was in shock, but Congress still denied a bill on background checks. It was a shameful moment for the United States — and it was all because of the NRA.

The NRA mobilized its 4 million members and army of lobbyists to defeat the bill. According to Business Insider, the organization made it so impossible for lawmakers to support gun control measures that Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) actually co-sponsored an alternative to the background check legislation with the NRA instead.

The NRA’s political influence extends across party lines, and it manages to exert its power through massive campaign contributions and through its politically active support network.

According to a Washington Post-ABC News survey, 40 percent of gun activists — those who have either contacted a politician or donated money on the gun control issue — would not vote for a candidate who they disagree with on gun policy. Meanwhile, 75 percent of non-gun activists have no issue voting for a politician they disagree with on gun control.

Those numbers paint a stark picture. Politicians are in danger of losing their positions if they don’t adhere to gun enthusiasts’ wishes, and the NRA makes sure those interests are made very clear to their members.

Not only does the NRA register people to vote, it has its own super PAC and 501c4 political organization, which can run its own political campaign. The two groups spent more than $27 million in the 2014 midterm elections, and much of that was spent on political advertising on television, radio and digital, as well as direct mail.

The NRA has created a pipeline of propaganda so that they can force-feed gun enthusiasts with misinformation and promote their own interests, all while Americans die at the hands of guns nearly every day.

Strong supporters of gun rights argue that immediately after a mass shooting, there must be some time before discussing gun violence, but if that’s the case, there will never be a discussion.

America has nearly one mass shooting a day, and since Sandy Hook, there have been at least 1,518 mass shootings and at least 1,715 people have died.

These politicians don’t want to have an immediate discussion on guns following massacres because it will emotionally influence voters. They want the attention to die down so that they continue to earn money from gun lobbyists and groups like the NRA — it’s what keeps them in office.

Since 1998, the NRA has donated $3,533,294 to current members of Congress. Why turn your back on one of your biggest supporters, especially if you’re a long-time incumbent?

Every time a bullet hits someone, about 87 percent of the emergency expenses fall on taxpayers, but that’s not always the case.

After Jennifer Longdon was shot by a driver on the road, her health insurance dropped her coverage, and she has paid almost $5 million out of pocket due to the damage one bullet caused her.

Gun violence is a public health epidemic, and it deserves to be treated as such, but the NRA continually shuts down government-funded research on firearms. Members of the NRA also personally attack the doctors trying to do the research like the terrorists they are.

“There are so many big issues in the world, and the question is: Do you want to do gun research? Because you’re going to get attacked. No one is attacking us when we do heart disease,” David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, said.

Politicians will not give up on protecting guns until they give up on the NRA. The bottom line is: The NRA is responsible for mass shootings in the U.S., and the organization needs to be treated like the domestic terrorist group that it is. 

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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