Tragically, Uvalde in Texas Hill County hit the headlines recently for the wrong reasons. On 24 May, in this gliding-and-gaming Hispanic-majority city, 19 children of an elementary school ended up being gaming targets for a teenage sadist. The heartless may argue over 900 school shootings have pockmarked the last decade and this shootout is merely a statistical piece. But, gun-control activists are earnestly hoping the Uvalde shootout pushes upfront many smoking questions to the top of the table.
Gun Lobby Politics
Why are reckless shootings becoming so common in United States? Why are US law-enforcers unable to check the trigger-happy? Why are American gun laws so lax and liberal? Who is finally stopping gun-ownership reforms? Who is spilling the American blood? These posers have one answer: the all-powerful gun lobby. This mercenary pressure-group with strong vested interests opposes mild and moderate changes too in the existing gun laws. With conniving American politicians, the lobby has the final say, always. Who is the lobbyist-in-chief in this pressure-group?
Beyond doubt, it is the National Rifle Association, the mighty NRA. This grouping of gun-owners fights fiercely gun-law changes as they see them hurting their pelf and power. What was founded to promote scientific shooting is today a platform for promoting liberal use of firearms and it is NRA for you. As a part of their promotional activities, NRA’s Political Action Committee does not hesitate to fund (an euphemism for bribing) lawmakers to ensure existing gun laws are untouched. Surely, NRA influences government policy.
A Manipulating NRA
Frighteningly, put together, gun-control advocacy groups cannot match NRA’s membership rolls and its annual expenditure of about USD 250 million. How does NRA spend this huge sum and on what? Again, the answer points towards manipulation. Incontrovertibly, this sum is spent primarily for swaying government’s gun policies to protect NRA’s turf.
What is this NRA manipulation and influencing about? NRA lobbies solely for junking gun-control laws and selling the idea of guns being indispensable for safety, of the American nation and its people. In mad pursuit of these goals, NRA goes to the extent of misinterpreting what is seen as sacrosanct by Americans.
Repulsive as it is, NRA outsteps its limits to say openly the Second Amendment confers rights to bear arms without any government oversight. Sounds blasphemous to Americans who swear by the Constitution. What NRA means by these sound-bytes is this: open-carry gun laws is perfectly legal. This is political arrogance at its best and the NRA should accept the blame for the shootouts.
However, NRA alone is not to be blamed for the sorry state of gun affairs. Behind the NRA, other pro-gun groupings, including the Gun Owners of America and National Association for Gun Rights, line up to voice pro-gun sentiments. They oppose mild proposals such as funding research on gun violence and investing more in agencies conducting background checks. However, NRA mentors most of them.
Delve deeper and it is not difficult to see NRA derives sustenance from another important source. Divisive and dysfunctional politicians are NRA’s real bulwarks. What is common knowledge is Republicans are against gun-restriction laws. Thus, the right-wing Republicans are funded by NRA. Reportedly, NRA has spent more than US $2 million on lobbying Texas Republican politicians.
Donald Trump is one important Republican who is a staunch NRA supporter. Proving his credentials, Trump called for resisting new gun restrictions post-Uvalde. Top lawmakers of Texas, including Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick, followed Trump to veer away from their initial pro-restriction stand. This shows how committed American politicians are when it comes to tightening American gun laws.
As political chutzpah would have it, Republicans went on to blame inadequate mental health services and school security measures for the shootout tragedy, not the liberal gun-ownership laws. So much for focus and functionality in American politics.
Republicans apart, the Democrats too are not free from blame either. As an example, Beto O’Rourke, a democrat and a gubernatorial candidate, did make gun-control central to his politics. But, he stopped at his spoken word and did nothing about the menacing gun culture. American political-watchers assert the democrats too haven’t done anything substantial towards making tighter gun-control laws a reality.
Unwilling to Rein in
Thus, both the Republicans and the Democrats, thus the whole universe of American politicians, are to be blamed for the blood-spilling. They are to be called out for furthering their own self-seeking interpretations, not based on empirical evidences, to perpetuate gun-violence.
Consider Americans buy guns without let or hindrance and it is an open secret America has the highest per-capita gun ownership in the whole planet and a higher number of gun-killings than Britain and Canada. Who is to blame for this state of affairs? The gun control-averse American politicians, without question. Why is US congressional action on gun control a whimper? How did Texas allow permitless gun-carry laws? Simply because the Congress and the politicians of various hues are unwilling to rein in the bulldozing NRA.
As long as gun laws differ from state to state, gun trafficking and gun arbitraging between states are bound to flourish. Guns will keep zipping freely from lenient states to stricter states. However, there is one solution to this menace. Stop treating gun ownership as a matter of self-defence. See it as a constitutional issue. If this is done, gun ownership can be tightened and administered unitarily by the constitutional head, for the whole of America and in the best interests of Americans. The way it is to go, Dear America.