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Second Amendment in US Constitution Analysis

Method

In terms of methodology, efforts to analyze the National Rifles Associations activities as well as influences through primary and secondary sources.

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Introduction

Second Amendment in US Constitution Analysis

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In a society where polarized factions seek to gain influence on legislature, the NRA has has been widely successful. June 26, 2008 the Columbia v. Heller the supreme court ruled That the Second Amendment Guarantees an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms (Cornell Law School). This marked the first time that the argument whether or not the second amendment should include individual gun owners has reached the Supreme Court since 1939 (NRA-ILA). The NRA praised this decision stating, “Our founding fathers wrote and intended the Second Amendment to be an individual right. The Supreme Court has now acknowledged it. The Second Amendment as an individual right now becomes a real permanent part of American Constitutional law. (NRA-ILA)”

The National Rifle Association was established in 1871 as union leaders, William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate, were “Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops.(National Rifle Association)” Originally established as a modest way to train soldiers, the NRA has now evolved into one of the major influencers in United States politics, with 5 million members and an annual revenue of close to a half a billion (National Rifle Association). The NRA has blocked any form of gun control regulation for the past decades, even in the wake of horrors such as the Las Vegas and Parkland mass shootings.

The Second Amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Most Americans interpret the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” as an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. This interpretation deems any legislative effort to forbid or restrict firearm possession unconstitutional. The need/use for guns in North America has been intertwined within the fabric of American society since the discovery of the New World. A necessity for firearms from Colonial times through present time has formed. From fur trappers in the Colonial Era, to the displacement of English rule, guns have been instrumental in the success of the formation of the States. As a result America has created a deep dependence on weapons within American culture. This dependency, lead to the creation of the National Rifle Association, which is renowned for being the United States longest standing civil right association. The organization has acquired immense support and fundings throughout its years of protecting the 2nd amendment. The the organizations unrelenting protection for this amendment has resulted in an immense unwaveringly loyal following. During the past two decades the NRA membership has increased from less than 2 million, in 2000, to allegedly 5 million in 2017 (Christopher Ingraham). Just looking at the NRA’s influence on population it already directs a relatively large portion of voters. It’s greatest asset is its sheer number of unwaveringly loyal members the gun owners who comprises the NRA are passionate about their firearms. The organization coordinates hunting trips, funds gun clubs, and also teaches gun safety to people of all ages. In return “members, coupled with industry supporters, fund the NRA and are ready to mobilize when the group calls on them.(Walter Hickey)” Although normally lobbyist parties have opposition, any pro-gun control fail to to even come close to matching the NRA’s power and reach, due to lack of members and funding.

In many instances the power of the National Rifle Association, originates from money. “The organization has an annual operating budget of some quarter of a billion dollars. (James Surowiecki)” Between 2000 and 2010 the organization spent close to fifteen times as much as their pro-gun control counterparts. The NRA has made it unthinkable for a Republican controlled nation to even consider limiting gun possession, much less repealing the Second Amendment. Logically because the NRA has such a great following and power it has become one of the most influential lobby parties, but what techniques has this colossal organization utilized to increase its political clout.?

NRA & The Republicains

Gun rights have become a token for the Republican party. In August of 2000 the republican party adopted the belief: “We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as a violation of the Second Amendment and an invasion of privacy of honest citizens.(http://www.ontheissues.org)” This resulted in an even stronger mutual relationship between the National Rifle Association and the Republican party. With the colossal annual revenue from membership, an assessed $433.9 million in 2016 released by the NRA itself (Daniel Terrill), many expenditures are dedicated in an effort to retain power by protecting gun laws. “The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimated that during the 2016 election, the NRA and its affiliates spent a record $54m to secure Republican control of the White House and Congress, including at least $30.3m to help elect Donald Trump. (The Huffington Post)” Republicans, largely being seen as extremely protective of the 2nd amendment, have always been supported by the National Rifle Association. NRA expenditures focus on providing members of congress with financial support: “half of congressional incumbents have gotten money and organizational help from the group, with many members having long-standing financial relationships with the NRA that date back years.(Aaron Kessler)”

The survey conducted by the PEW Research center in Figure 1 illustrates that more and more conservative Republicans/Republican learners have begun to believe that the NRA does not have too much power, but just the right amount. The Figure depicts this shift in beliefs from 32% of republicans Believing that the NRA has too much power in 2000 to only 13% believing this in 2015. This is largely due to a combination of an increase in financial support from the NRA as well as an ever growing polarization of the gun-control issue. The effect of the polarization can also be seen with the Democratic party, who has increasingly thought that the National Rifle Association had obtained too much power within the current state of United states politics.

Lobbying

Lobbying is an attempt to increase political influence over specific policies on behalf of personal benefits or tenets. The NRA created the ILA — The Institute for Legislative Action — in 1975. This organization was created with the sole purpose of lobbying on behalf of the National Rifle Association. The ILA helped push many bills through congress, including a bill created in Florida that made it illegal for doctors to ask a patient whether or not the possessed a firearm (Dahlia Lithwick).There are two main types of lobbying, outside and inside lobbying. The NRA has masterfully been able to use both of these techniques to gain more persuasion within the United States legislative system. Outside lobbying refers predominantly to organizations not directly involved in the system. Outside lobbying techniques include contributing money, campaign work, and public relation campaigns (Eric R. A. N. Smith).

“Money Talks,” a simple yet painfully true premise. In today’s society money is synonymous with power, the more wealth you have the more influence and power one has within his/her community. This same philosophy can also be applied to politics. Modern day politicians demand money to aid them win elections and secure power. Money can buy access to and influence with lawmakers, this tactic is mainly utilised by lobbyist parties. In the age of rising lobbying power and their influence on governmental policy money is everything. “Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures—more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million),(Lee Drutman)” from the beginning of the twenty-first century this gap between corporate lobbying and the House/Senate budget continues to widen. The NRA has a monopoly over firearm policies because of their massive budget regarding political contributions. The association spent “$3.2 million from January 1 to June 30” of 2017 on lobbying alone.(Alex Yablon and Mike Spies) This budget is barely rivaled by anti-gun and firearm restriction organization. According to the Center for Responsive Politics the National Rifle Association spent upwards of 23 million dollars between the years of 1989–2016 on campaign donations whereas Gun Control Groups spent around 4 million dollars regarding political contributions (Center for Responsive Politics). These unparalleled expdentures offer the NRA an extreme amount of influence over firearm legislation.

Inside lobbying by interest groups involve creating direct contacts in politics. A technique used by many lobbying parties, including the NRA, is to hire former congressmen and legislators to exploit their connections. Wayne LaPierre, current executive vice president of the NRA, was previously a political aide to virginia democratic delegate Vic Thomas. The NRA’s choice to nominate LaPierre as vice president allowed for the previously almost republican exclusive organization to widen its appeal to the other end of America’s polarized spectrum.

Financial Support and Controversy

The NRA owes its deep pockets to the many gun manufacturers it supports.The association’s corporate sponsors such as Remington, Smith & Wesson, Beretta USA, and Springfield Armory make up the nation’s top manufacturers and sellers of personal firearms. The American gun industry “manufactured more than 11 million firearms for domestic consumption in 2016 (Sarah McCammon and Josh Sugarmann).” Since 2005, the NRA has accumulated between $20 Million and $52.6 Million through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor made up of the top firearm manufacture programs (Walter Hickey). On top of these donations, the NRA’s funding is also intrinsically connected to prosperity within the gun business. Some companies donate portions of their sales directly to the group. “Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns” and “Sturm Ruger gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold” (Jarrett Murph).

The NRA works towards to the ultimate goal of protecting the second amendment. However, the fact that the organizations political goals and revenue streams are linked has caused much controversy. The National Rifle Association’s motivations can be summarized as supporting infrastructure of the basic right to protect yourself and your family from violent crime or attacks. Political pundits have questioned the true motivations of the National Rifle Association’s, believing that they might be more driven by financial incentives rather than the intention of protecting the second amendment.

Possibly the most controversial involvements of the NRA has been the group’s effort to stifle gun violence research. The association’s efforts have been sustained for decades as they continue to limit and control gun violence research and available information. The Dickey Amendment– passed by Congress –was a comprimise with the NRA that would not ban gun violence research, but reduce funding by 90 percent (Samantha Raphelson). This bill has halted almost all gun violence research in the twenty-first century. The National Institute of Justice reported conducting zero studies regarding gun violence between 2009 and 2012. With this, NRA backed, legislature it is very arduous to determine the all important question whether gun control works.

Membership

On top of monopolizing lobbying regarding firearm limitation policies, devoted members to the association provide the NRA with immense sway within the government. The National Rifles Association sells a $40 yearly membership, sometimes even offering multiyear lifetime deals. The NRA released a report claiming to have near 5 million members in 2016, when in reality membership numbers were closer to 14 million. With such a vast following membership revenue is immense.“Since 2004, the group has averaged about $128 million a year in total membership revenue.(Ingraham, Christopher.)” Although money provides NRA with much of it’s political sway, mobilization of members are also the source of the organization’s clout.

According to the campaign finance records “the organization’s political action committee over the last decade has not made a single direct contribution to any current member of the Florida House or Senate.( Eric Lipton and Alexander Burns),” the last donation being to state senator Aaron Bean in 2000 for $500. Yet, Florida remains one of the states where NRA membership and influence remains high. This information begs the question, “how does the NRA retain political influence within Floridan without financial contributions?” In reality the organization fuels its political influence with millions of dollars in ad campaigns prompting members to the polls. Cleta Mitchell, a former N.R.A. board member voiced the true source of the NRA’s success “It’s the ability of the N.R.A. to tell its members: Here’s who’s good on the Second Amendment.” The organization utilizes the American mindset of the necessity for guns, and the weight Americans put on the 2nd Amendment, to propel their members in the right political direction. “As membership increases, pressure by the organization for political candidates to continue protecting the 2nd amendment to the fullest extent is almost mandatory to ensure that the organization does not provide opposition in future elections. The group mails voter guides to its members with pictures favored candidates on the cover in an effort to influence polls ( Eric Lipton and Alexander Burns). Quite simply, the association sees their money being more effectively spent on continuing to support and secure a loyal membership rather than directly contributing to political candidates. The NRA spent roughly $11,000 on daily online advertising prior to the the parkland shooting, this number rose to a little over $47,000 after the murders (David Morris). Pathmatics also discovered that the NRA became one of the biggest youtube advertisement spender briefly after the attack in Florida, even displaying ads on a toy unboxing channel. This was most likely to increase their membership as they attempted to reach a wider audience.

With the immense devotee population the National Rifle Association has gained monumental sway with regards to gun control. This membership basis has also lead to an increasingly right-winged United States government. Although democrats and republican have recently unified for collective efforts such as the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage. Gun control remains one of the most polarizing issues in American politics. Because of the fact that gun control has pushed democrats and republicans towards the political polls, more republicans are lining up with previously more conservative views. This increase in polar views has increased the organization’s overall political clout given that more people are now willing to line up with more “extreme” views regarding gun control.

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Second Amendment in US Constitution Analysis
Artscolumbia
Artscolumbia
Method In terms of methodology, efforts to analyze the National Rifles Associations activities as well as influences through primary and secondary sources. Introduction In a society where polarized factions seek to gain influence on legislature, the NRA has has been widely successful. June 26, 2008 the Columbia v. Heller the supreme court ruled That the Second Amendment Guarantees an Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms (Cornell Law School). This marked the first time that
2021-10-15 06:33:55
Second Amendment in US Constitution Analysis
$ 13.900 2018-12-31
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