You Don’t Get To Be Angry (Gun Control Edition)

You don’t get to be angry about the lack of gun regulation legislation that failed to pass through congress, because you probably did very little to support it. Congress doesn’t vote based on tweets and status likes. It decides from citizens voices and (let’s not be naive) money. Did you write or call your congressperson? Did you contribute to an organization or PAC? Did you encourage your friends to do the same? Because nearly everyone who supports gun rights did.

The National Rifle Association takes in over $200 million every year while the gun industry makes around $21 billion a year. Although it’s harder to track money given to political candidates and campaigns, it’s not difficult to guess the numbers when considering how much the gun right supporters help each other.

Sturm Ruger (gun manufacturer) gave the NRA a dollar for every gun sold in 2012, totaling over $1.2 million; the CEO of Cabela’s (outdoor sporting goods store) gave them $1 million in cash; and Beretta USA (gun manufacturer) contributed $1 million in support of Second Amendment lawsuits. Even if they have nothing to do with the NRA, gun owners show their support by owning guns – specifically, by purchasing them from suppliers who support gun rights.

How much are their opponents taking in? It’s hard to tell. Gun control supporters seem to be significantly less unified. The closest to an anti-NRA would be the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence which took in close to $3 million in 2011The most current findings should be even higher when you consider how from December of 2012 to January of 2013, they raised $5 million alone.

Why so much in so little time? Sandy Hook Elementary School. Gun control advocates have an unfortunate pattern of stepping up support only after horrific tragedies. Once those feelings of shock, sadness and outrage fade, so does financial and political support.

A Pew Research survey proves this substantial “activism gap.” Almost a quarter (23%) of gun rights advocates have given money to their cause; of gun control supporters, it’s 5%. Similarly, 15% of gun rights advocates have contacted their public official compared to only 8% of gun control supporters.

Political participation has proven significantly influential for gun rights advocates as well. NPR points out that one email from the Gun Owners of America to its members sparked a rush of calls to Congress days before a crucial Senate vote.

Clearly, financial backing is not the only way of support. In fact, contacting your elected official might be easier than giving financially. All it takes is a click here for your Senator, here for your Representative (enter your zip at the top), here for your governor, and here for your state legislature. There are phone numbers and email addresses. It’s your job to speak and their job to listen.

It might be a sign that not enough people are speaking when polls show that 90% of Americans favor expanding background checks (including 85% of gun owners), and yet there has been no action to expand background checks.

The Pew survey also showed that 90% of gun owners support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, and 60% support creating a federal database to track gun sales. And yet, none of these things have happened.

In an era of ineffably hostile polarity, how is it that we still hear the angrily stagnant and not the communally effective? When both sides of the aisle are agreeing, but no one hears them, did they really agree? More importantly, when both sides agree and nothing is being done, is it really a democracy?

People who get to be angry: Those who have done all of those things listed above.

People who really get to be angry: Those who have done all of those things listed above and lost a loved one to gun violence.

Jordan Lints

Jordan Lints

Political and Cultural Contributor
Jordan Lints

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