Further Thoughts On Gun Control And Voter Intensity

The politics of gun control is not nearly as easy as its supporters believe it to be.

Gun Flag

There’s been a lot of push back in the comment thread to my post this morning pointing out that, while voters tell pollsters that they are strongly in favor of many types of gun regulations, polling and election results indicate quite strongly that it isn’t an issue that they care strongly about, and certainly not one that is likely to have a significant impact on their vote on Election Day. Indeed, surveys have shown for some time that the most important issues for voters revolve around the economy, jobs, and, to some extent health care.  In times of international crisis, foreign policy will enter into the equation as well but not nearly to the same degree as it was during the Cold War when the GOP’s advantages at the Presidential level were, in many ways, tied to the perception among voters that it was stronger on national defense issues. When it comes to gun control, though, it’s never been apparent that it is a strong motivator for voters in Federal elections. Indeed, the 1994 elections, which took place in the wake of that year’s “Assault Weapons” ban, showed once again that it was the gun rights side of the argument that seemed to have a more powerful voice at the box office, perhaps because that side of the argument does a better job of motivating its voters.

Many of the arguments in the comment thread pointed to the power of the National Rifle Association as the key explanation for the phenomenon I noted. As I said in the comments, though, while I don’t deny that the NRA and other gun rights organizations  are powerful and very effective lobbying organizations, I think that pinning the entire explanation for the political failures of gun control on them misses the point. For one thing, the number of gun owners in the United States is far, far higher than the total membership of all of these organizations combined. That fact alone calls into question just how much influence the NRA and related organizations actually have among voters. Indeed, one wonders how some of the campaigning that the NRA does engage in doesn’t end up further motivating those voters who are in favor of gun control. As many of you may be aware, many of those ads tend to be fairly inflammatory. The fact that they don’t seem to provoke a backlash is another strong argument in favor of the argument that gun control is not a very important issue to them even though they say in polls that the support it.

Additionally, as Paul Waldman notes, the argument that the NRA’s money advantage is a big favor in the gun debate simply doesn’t hold water anymore:

[T]hough the NRA may spend a good deal of money in total, it spreads that money to multiple races across the country. In the last four elections, the median NRA House independent expenditure has spent less than $10,000, and the median Senate IE only around $30,000 – numbers too small to have a real impact.

All right, but is the organization spending token amounts on a large group of friendly candidates, but putting its real weight behind a few high-profile races and producing results? Yet again, the answer is no. In the last four elections, the NRA spent over $100,000 on an IE in 22 separate Senate races. The group’s favored candidate won 10 times, and lost 12 times. This mediocre won-lost record, however, tells only part of the story. Let’s take one example, the largest IE the NRA conducted over this period. In 2010, they spent $1.5 million on the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race between Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak. Toomey won by 2 points, but could the NRA claim credit? Toomey’s campaign spent just under $17 million, over twice as much as Sestak’s $7.5 million. The NRA was one of a remarkable 62 outside groups that poured a total of over $28 million into the Pennsylvania race. Put another way, in the NRA’s single largest independent expenditure over this period, the group accounted for less than 3 percent of the money spent in the race.

In other words, the NRA is, in the end, just another lobbying and advocacy organization.

The key isn’t the NRA, it’s the voters.

In The Washington Post, Peyton Craighill and Chris Cillizza examine the results of a new poll that shows yet again why the political battle over gun control has been so difficult for gun control advocates:

Gun owners are far more politically engaged than are those in households without guns, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a chasm that goes a long way toward explaining the seeming disconnect between Congress and the American public when it comes to reforming the country’s firearms laws.

One in five gun owners say they’ve called, written or emailed a public official to express their views on the gun issue. Just one in 10 of those in households without a gun say the same. The disparity is even greater when it comes to making donations to organizations involved in the issue; 19 percent of gun owners say they’ve given money while just 4 percent in non-gun households say the same.

And, for many of those politically active gun owners, opposition to gun rights is a disqualifying position for a politician. Four in 10 gun activists — defined as  those who have either contacted a politician or donated money — would rule out voting for a candidate with whom they disagree on gun policy but with whom they agree on other issues. That compares with just over a quarter of non-gun activists who would rule out a politician who took a position opposite theirs on guns.

(…)

All of these numbers illustrate the crux of the divide between public opinion and political action on guns. While majorities of the public support things like expanded background checks, banning or limiting high capacity magazines and reinstituting the assault weapons ban, they — by and large — don’t feel passionately about any of it. Those opposed to such measures are smaller in numbers but extremely passionate.

To put it bluntly, gun owners and those who support gun rights have consistently been more passionate about the issue than advocates of gun control and, as Craighilland Cillizza note, passion is immensely important in political debates like this. After all, if Senators like Heidi Heitkamp, a red state Democrat who announced this afternoon that she would be opposing the Manchin/Toomey plan, look at the situation and see that there is more of a political risk in voting for the bill than voting against it, it shouldn’t been too shocking what they are going to do.

As I noted in the Gallup poll that I cited this morning, in the wake of the Newtown shootings the percentage of the population for whom gun control was “the most important” issue went from non-existent to high of 6% in February before dropping back down to 4%. That’s higher than where it was before the shootings, but the trend suggests that intensity will continue to wane, especially once public attention moves on to another topic either naturally or because a crisis, either domestic or international, has grabbed the public attention. Indeed, much of the attention that was being paid to the Manchin/Toomey bill on the day that it’s fate is being decided has been diverted by events in Boston and the reports of poisoned letters in Washington, D.C. Once the bill is defeated, it’s likely that gun control will slip even further away from the public mind as we concentrate on the follow-up to the Boston bombing and the upcoming debate on immigration.

Finally, there’s simply political reality that significant gun control is not going to pass under the current political climate on Capitol Hill. If the American people want to change that, they will. So far, there seems to be no indication that this will happen.

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FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Caj says:

    Don’t know why anyone would still be sitting on the fence! Guns kill it’s as simple as that. Too easy to keep saying it’s only the mentally ill who commit gun crimes. So called sane and respectable people buy guns and at any given time could lose their cool and take revenge and use a gun simply because they have one. The tired argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people is ridiculous! I’d like anyone to show me one person who can fire bullets from their fingers then that argument may hold water. No, guns kill people plain and simple and much stronger gun laws are required. Assault weapon ban an absolute must. How many people do these gun activists expect to show up at their home if invaded? Surely, it must be an army of people! No one needs 30,40 or more rounds of ammunition unless you’re in the service and fighting for your country! If you ask me those who want to keep buying assault weapons and clips with god knows how many bullets also need mental evaluation!

  2. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m not a fan of Dowd, but my local rag ran her column yesterday. About a Senator who is struggling with this. His quote: “You’re not going to disenfranchise the NRA overnight. I think ultimately we will get the assault weapons ban because I don’t believe this is the last time a man will walk into a crowded place with an AR-15.”

    Sums it up for me. Has to be a different “crisis” or we do not “move on”. I think the NRA should be crafting their grand strategy with this contingency in mind.

  3. JKB says:

    @Caj:So called sane and respectable people buy guns and at any given time could lose their cool and take revenge and use a gun simply because they have one.

    So your saying the police and FBI shouldn’t have guns? They are “So called sane and respectable people”. What is to stop them from “at any given time could lose their cool and take revenge and use a gun simply because they have one”?

    If you ask me those who want to keep buying assault weapons and clips with god knows how many bullets also need mental evaluation!

    Keep saying that. I’m sure it is a winning argument.

  4. stonetools says:

    Eventually , some brown skinned terrorist folk are going to cop to the fact that its a lot easier to get your hands on high powered, lethal firearms than it is to get sophisticated high explosives, and they will acquire an arsenal of AR 15s, Glocks, ammunition, body armor, etc, then attack some crowd at a mall, metro station, sporting event, etc. Then we will see action, based on stopping the “terrorists”.

  5. Caj says:

    @JKB:
    From JKB. So your saying the police and FBI shouldn’t have guns? They are “So called sane and respectable people”. What is to stop them from “at any given time could lose their cool and take revenge and use a gun simply because they have one”?

    Typical response to take a perfectly valid comment and twist the facts! Cops and FBI are within their rights to carry assault weapons etc that goes without saying. Joe public however certainly are not. They have no need for assault weapons, absolutely no need. Only in the minds of Wayne Lapierre and his ilk. That group are totally delusional anyway.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    The NRA gave Ted Cruz $50,000.
    The NRA lied about what was in the bill.
    Ted Cruz repeated the lie.
    That’s all you need to know…both about what happened today, and Washington in general.

  7. Hello World! says:

    Can someone explain to me exactly what a fillibuster is today? I knowcwhat it was in Mr Smith goes to washington, but I have no idea what it is today. Cant HR just hold all senate business until the fillibuster is over?

  8. Dazedandconfused says:

    filibuster (n.)
    1580s, flibutor “pirate,” probably ultimately from Dutch vrijbuiter “freebooter,” used of pirates in the West Indies as Spanish filibustero and French flibustier, either or both of which gave the word to American English (see freebooter).

    Used 1850s and ’60s of lawless adventurers from the U.S. who tried to overthrow Central American countries. The legislative sense is not in Bartlett (1859) and seems not to have been in use in U.S. legislative writing before 1865. Probably the extension in sense is because obstructionist legislators “pirated” debate. Not technically restricted to U.S. Senate, but that’s where the strategy works best.

  9. Your observations are correct. I live in Montana. Grade school boys wear three kinds of outfits — green camo, brown camo and white camo. There is virtually no one in this state who might otherwise have voted for Max Baucus who will now vote for the Republican or Libertarian candidate because Baucus voted in favor of gun rights today. Many, however, would not vote for Baucus next year if he had gone down the gun restriction road. This has nothing at all to do with the NRA. It’s how people live and the way people are up here. It is amusing to see people who call themselves liberals or progressives chasing their tails blaming the gun lobby. It just goes to show how disconnected they are with huge swaths of the US population.

  10. Jack says:

    @Caj: I didn’t realize need applied to a right.

  11. Jack says:

    @Caj: Again, where in the 2nd amendment is this word need to which you keep referring?

  12. Stonetools says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    So Montana is overrun with Yahoos with penis issues. Got it.

  13. wr says:

    @Let’s Be Free: “It just goes to show how disconnected they are with huge swaths of the US population”

    And by “huge,” you mean tiny swaths of the US population who are given vastly superior representation because of the anti-democratic design of the senate.

    What are there, 400 people in Montana? Let me bow down before your huge swath of dozens of citizens.

  14. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The NRA gave Ted Cruz $50,000.
    The NRA lied about what was in the bill.
    Ted Cruz repeated the lie.
    That’s all you need to know

    I think what you need to know is the issue. If you are informed, it wouldn’t matter what Cruz said….would it?.

    I think the political problem is, for the most part, that on one side, you have a lot of people with a great deal of knowledge on the issue. The other side has shown on many occasions during the last two weeks that they….really don’t know much about it (from the Vice President on down).

    This was a golden opportunity squandered. All that had to be done was put together a small piece of legislation that included provisions that ANYONE could say “THAT makes sense and I can see where that might have stopped the VA Tech/Aurora/Sandy Hook killings” and you would have bipartisan support.

    From the start, if the focus would have been on enforcing existing laws (which doesn’t happen in the highest gun crim areas) and a strong reach towards mental health records access…..the NRA probably would have promoted it and endorsed it.

    …..but they chose the emotional bullying route.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    It’s all BS.
    If the loobbyists are paying them to go against their constituents they call it “doing the right thing”.
    If the lobbyists are paying them to coincidently be in alignment with their constituents they are suddenly afraid of losing an election.
    In the end it is all about whoring themselves to the lobbyists. Whores.

  16. I am amazed at the childish comments and commentators on this site — knee jerk name calling responses abound. Are there really that many of them? Or is it the same person posting again and again using different screen names?

  17. Jack says:

    @Stonetools:

    So Montana is overrun with Yahoos with penis issues. Got it.

    Yes, all people who use/own guns have penis issues. I guess the police and military also have small penises too. Why don’t you, with your apparently gargantuan penis go whack all of those terrorists and criminals with it. It will cause a world of hurt, I’m sure. They will surely be frightened by the mere size alone of your massive member, that they will surrender to the large shadow it casts.

  18. Stonetools says:

    @markm:

    I’m sorry- exactly what was the rational argument against universal background checks again? You know – the provision that everyone ( 95 per cent of the country ) agreed with?
    The NRA has never and will never agree to anything that restricts gun sales. But your concern trolling is noted. We will see you at the next massacre that your side enabled

  19. Jack says:

    @Stonetools: So if 95% of the country agreed that all illegal immigrants should be shot on site, does that make it right? You know, common sense legislation and all. My rights aren’t up for a vote. If you don’t like guns don’t own one, but don’t try to limit my ability to own them.

  20. JKB says:

    @Caj: Cops and FBI are within their rights to carry assault weapons etc that goes without saying. Joe public however certainly are not.

    Well, Caj, here is where you should learn a bit about the United States of America. Cops and FBI do not have rights. The People have rights. Your “Joe Public”. Cops and FBI are of course also citizens so they have the same rights as Joe Public. But they have no rights as cops or as FBI. They have authorizations enacted by the governing legislative body. They have regulations issued by the managing executive branch. And both are mitigated and refined by judicial decisions. But cops and FBI have no rights. Beyond those of all citizens.

  21. Stonetools says:

    @Jack: @Let’s Be Free:

    Enabling child killers, and sociopaths has that effect on me. I really see little difference between your kind and Jason Holmes and Adam Lanza. You make it easy for them to get the tools of mass slaughter and then express sorrow and amazement at the result. No one could have predicted that making it easy for anybody to buy assault rifles would not result for homicidal maniacs to get assault rifles, you say. Well the blood of the slaughtered be on all those who enable these massacres. Im sick of the lot of you. l

  22. markm says:

    @Stonetools:

    I’m sorry- exactly what was the rational argument against universal background checks again?

    We already have background checks. If you purchase a weapon you get a background check….unless you purchase it illegally which is already illegal.

    As I mentioned above, if you had a strong mental health component in this amendment, it would have passed with overwhelming support.

    As it is written now, it’s just redundant.

  23. JKB says:

    @markm: As it is written now, it’s just redundant.

    Actually, the Manchin-Toomey amendment was so poorly written that the touted gun rights provisions could easily be used by the bureaucrats to become stringent gun control measures. That is why it had to fail. The “redundancy” was a fake to try to get it passed.

    But I think many people in the country are wary of passing the bill to find out what is in it. Obamacare was enacted that way and so far no one has found much good in in but there is a lot of bad.

  24. Jack says:

    @Stonetools:

    I really see little difference between your kind and Jason Holmes and Adam Lanza.

    And that’s the problem. You want to paint all gun owners with a broad brush. Didn’t we learn that that was wrong after too many people used that same brush against all Muslims after 9/11? My collection, or arsenal as you would likely call it, has never been used to murder anyone. I carry routinely for self defense of myself and family. Luckily I have never had to use it. But guns are like parachutes, if you need one and don’t have one, you’ll likely never need one again. Meanwhile, all the politicians and Hollywood assholes who want to rid the citizens of the right to own guns have personal security details keeping a close watch to ensure their charge doesn’t suffer harm. Does the word hypocrite come to mind?

  25. markm says:

    Interesting:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00101

    That’s the AWB ban. Dems voting no:

    Baucus
    Begich
    Bennet
    Donnelly
    Hagan
    Heinrich
    Heitkamp
    Johnson
    King
    Landrieu
    Manchin
    Pryor
    Tester
    Udall, M.
    Udall, T.
    Warner

  26. Stonetools says:

    @markm:

    We don’t have background checks for private sellers. But you knew that.
    Lies are part of your side’s toolbox, I know.

  27. markm says:

    More:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00100

    Wow….that garnered more votes than the Toomey-Manchin. Had it passed, it would have been another ‘nearly’ redundant waste of parchment. I think 40ish states already share reciprocity with my state.

    These don’t:

    California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Illinois, N. Mariana Islands

    No biggie.

  28. markm says:

    @Stonetools:

    We don’t have background checks for private sellers. But you knew that.
    Lies are part of your side’s toolbox, I know.

    Who is we?.
    If you have a weapon that I want to buy, I pay you, you take it to an FFL who will ship it to an FFL on my end. At that point, I get a background check before I can purchase the weapon.

    If you live nearby, I pay you, you take it to your local FFL, I go to that FFL and get a background check before taking possession.

    If you have a weapon I want to purchase ‘on the down low’….that’s already illegal and unless it’s stolen, you are on the hook for it even though you no longer own it.

    If you have a CPL and I have a CPL, I can purchase with no background check. The CPL is proof you have passed a background check (and…not to beat a dead horse, but the Toomey-Manchin amendment would allow a CPL holder to purchase with no background check….REDUNDANT).

  29. Stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    No,I just think of you as the good Germans who stood aside while the real killers did the work. They had rationalizations too. They claimed that they were law abiding citizens who just wanted to enjoy themselves. They didn’t do the killing. But they made things easy for the killers. And they too slept with clear consciences and railed against those who didn’t understand that they had nothing,nothing at all, to do with the crazy murderers over there.

  30. matt bernius says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    It just goes to show how disconnected they are with huge swaths of the US population.

    Ok… just as a reminder, let’s look at US electoral maps adjusted for population — i.e. how can so many states be red and a democrat still win?

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/

  31. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…

    “… Meanwhile, all the politicians and Hollywood assholes who want to rid the citizens of the right to own guns…”

    If you have to lie to make your point…you don’t have a point worth making.
    If there was anything to your argument…you wouldn’t have to lie.
    If you had even a morsel of a leg to stand on…you wouldn’t have to lie.
    If you have to lie…maybe you should just STFU…instead of lying.

  32. Stonetools says:

    @markm:

    Private sellers aren’t required to conduct background checks of prospective gun buyers. I’d do your homework for you ,but I can’t be bothered right now. It’s late and I’m feeling sick at Senate mendacity. Those Newton children DID die in vain. Good job, mate. Adam Lanza is somewhere laughing WITH you and the NRA.

  33. markm says:

    @Stonetools:

    Private sellers aren’t required to conduct background checks of prospective gun buyers.

    As in my example above, if I want to buy a gun from you, I HAVE to go through an FFL where the background check is done. I pay roughly $25 for that service.

    So yes, you are not responsible for a background check on me….it’s just part of the purchase/transfer process.

    I don’t need anyone doing homework for me but thanks.

  34. markm says:

    @Stonetools:

    Those Newton children DID die in vain. Good job, mate. Adam Lanza is somewhere laughing WITH you and the NRA.

    And that is why there can be no rational debate on this subject.

  35. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: How is that a lie? I’d need an abacus to count all the politicians and Hollywood assholes that are all for gun control but have armed guards protecting their family.

  36. Jack says:

    @Stonetools: And yet you rail against those that want to protect unborn babies.

    Safety is a myth, like unicorns. It doesn’t exist. No amount of laws will prevent death. Not death to children, not death to adults, not death to minorities, not “senseless violence”. You cannot legislate morality.

  37. Jack says:

    @Stonetools: Meanwhile, I’m gonna pop a cork and celebrate democracy!

  38. al-Ameda says:

    This is no surprise, America has strong cult of gun ownership.

  39. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…
    No one is trying to take away your right to own guns.
    You are a liar, and a tool of the gun lobby, who feeds you lies like that to scare you.
    And you are,like the rest of the cult, too stupid to realize it.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    Markm…

    “…This was a golden opportunity squandered. All that had to be done was put together a small piece of legislation that included provisions that ANYONE could say “THAT makes sense and I can see where that might have stopped the VA Tech/Aurora/Sandy Hook killings” and you would have bipartisan support…”

    So by that brilliant logic we should eliminate speed limits because they won’t prevent me from dying in a car accident tomorrow.
    You must be a member of Mensa.
    I don’t understand how I could have missed that logic.
    F’ing A…it appears gun owners are too stupid to own guns.

  41. C. Clavin says:

    Almost a MILLION gun deaths since 1980 and we can’t even try to do anything about it because of the nonsense the NRA makes you fools believe?
    Sad comment on both gun owners and Congress.

  42. Andy says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Almost a MILLION gun deaths since 1980 and we can’t even try to do anything about it because of the nonsense the NRA makes you fools believe?

    The NRA would probably be a lot less successful if their opponents did substantially more than complain about how powerful the NRA is or how stupid people are for supposedly believing the NRA narrative. When the arguments boil down to “the NRA is to powerful” or “people are stupid” it shouldn’t be any surprise there isn’t a groundswell of support, even for the marginal gun control measures that just got shit-canned. Frankly, no one like whiners and what’s sad is that is what the gun control lobby has become. Go to their websites and 1/2 the content is whining about the NRA.

    I think if one considers a spectrum of successful grassroots political action, on one end you’d have the gun control movement and at the other you’d have the temperance movement. If the gun control movement actually wants some political success, they need to emulate the temperance movement and actually try to win people over to their side to build an real movement instead of lecturing people about the evils of the NRA or their own stupidity.

  43. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Doug, I think you are on point on this issue. I have often said about parents and the public that we want to want school reform, but we don’t want to have school reform once we see what it looks like. The same thing applies here.

  44. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:

    I dunno. Seems to me the more fanatical the NRA has gotten, the more fanatical their fan base has become. Listen to some of the things Wayne has been saying over the last 4 years. “Wands lingering between the legs of our women!” – “Third generation inbred elite!” is this temperate?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd73D44L6cM

    No. A sad fact of politics is the more batshit crazy ones base is, the more they give, and the power you wield. Fanaticism hasn’t harmed the gun lobby yet, but it carry’s a seed of destruction within it. It’s only the lack of matching intensity in the population that gives them the power, not their numbers. Get too heavy-handed with that power, things can go south in a hurry.

    Speaking of which, the South blew their chance to be free in 1850. Instead they rammed the Fugitive Slave Act down the North’s throat. Ten years of bounty hunters later, you had John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the fanaticism they raised was absolutely necessary for Lincoln to wage that war. Millard Fillmore couldn’t have gotten the North of 1850 to fight to keep the south to save his life.

    There are Senators now who do not agree with the NRA’s position, but dare not cross them. They saw what the NRA has done to politicians. However, when you force people to say and do things they do not believe in, they resent it. They resent themselves even more for caving to it, even when bribed. If they feel they can’t risk expressing that resentment, it can become particularly toxic.

  45. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So by that brilliant logic we should eliminate speed limits because they won’t prevent me from dying in a car accident tomorrow.
    You must be a member of Mensa.
    I don’t understand how I could have missed that logic.
    F’ing A…it appears gun owners are too stupid to own guns.

    @Andy:

    The NRA would probably be a lot less successful if their opponents did substantially more than complain about how powerful the NRA is or how stupid people are for supposedly believing the NRA narrative. When the arguments boil down to “the NRA is to powerful” or “people are stupid” it shouldn’t be any surprise there isn’t a groundswell of support

    You can only lead a horse to water.

  46. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Almost a MILLION gun deaths since 1980 and we can’t even try to do anything about it because of the nonsense the NRA makes you fools believe?

    What happens when the fools aren’t NRA members or don’t listen to them?. You are a shining example of why any gun law reform died yesterday.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    Funny…all the cultists above repeat NRA propaganda…then say don’t blame the NRA.
    The NRA is why this moderate common sense bill didn’t pass.
    The NRA scares the gun cult…and pays off Congress.
    But we’re supposed to ignore that. Calling a spade a spade is whining?
    I understand that tools dont want to admit they are tools.
    But if you repeat NRA nonsense verbatim then it’s hard to blame anyone else but the NRA.
    It’s not your fault you are not smart enough to see what’s going on.
    Just keep repeating whatever LaPierre tells you to say.
    Then pretend you are having an independent thought.

  48. C. Clavin says:

    Keep in mind also that the bill got majority support.
    It was only thru another filibuster by the record busting Republicans that the will of 92% of the country was denied.
    So yeah…pop the cork on that champagne, douchebag…Democracy won.
    Oh wait…no it didn’t.
    The lobbyists and technicalities won.

  49. Andy says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The NRA is why this moderate common sense bill didn’t pass.

    If there were only more people on the internet whining about the NRA and talking about how stupid people are, it would have passed.

  50. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Funny…all the cultists above repeat NRA propaganda…then say don’t blame the NRA.

    I don’t belong to the NRA or listen to the NRA and I have not posted anything from the NRA. Through multiple pieces on OTB I have posted actual facts on gun purchases….not what the NRA or anybody else says, but just the facts of purchasing a weapon.

    All I get in return is more of the Obamaesque emotional bullying campaign. It’s no wonder any gun reform lost.

  51. john personna says:

    Consider, this thread is about “intensity,” and the topic of “fanatics” comes up.

    Maybe “intensity” isn’t such a good measure (looking at either side) after all.

    Perhaps we should go back to those polls, and the reasoned opinion of the populace.

  52. C. Clavin says:

    markm…
    you just keep repeating NRA propoganda and pretending it’s your original thought.
    and apparently you don’t even know it.
    “…this bill wouldn’t stop Sandy Hook or Aurora from happening so we shouldn’t do it…”
    that’s right out of any lobbyists playbook…the NRA is a lobby for the gun makers.
    that makes you a shill by extension.
    only you ain’t gettin’ paid.

    sorry i emotionally bullied you…you big strong gun owner.

  53. JKB says:

    @Dazedandconfused: However, when you force people to say and do things they do not believe in, they resent it. They resent themselves even more for caving to it, even when bribed. If they feel they can’t risk expressing that resentment, it can become particularly toxic.

    Funny, you don’t seem to take this opinion when the matter is aborting fetuses or gay marriage or even school prayer. Pick your prog cause. It’s the same.

  54. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Aren’t those cases again where the conservatives want Minority Rule?

    A mere 18% of the population supports full illegalization of abortion. Etc.

  55. Caj says:

    @Jack:

    Jack.

    No one said the word ‘need’ was in the second amendment! The word need is self evident. Gun fanatics NEED to have a gun they can’t exist without one. It goes beyond self protection for some, it’s an obsession and they as I said before NEED to have a gun it’s their life blood!

  56. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    you just keep repeating NRA propoganda and pretending it’s your original thought.
    and apparently you don’t even know it.

    I guess when fact and propaganda converge, there is nothing I can do about that. Like I said, I just listed the how a gun is purchased from experience.

  57. C. Clavin says:

    well markm…if it were fact then you might have a point.

  58. C. Clavin says:

    shorter JKB…but, but, but….abortion.
    FETUS!!!!

  59. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: 54,559,615 Abortions Since Roe v. Wade in 1973. See I can quote useless numbers in advancement of a cause too.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/54-million-abortions-roe/2013/01/22/id/472494/

  60. Jack says:

    @Caj: So are you saying Rosa Parks didn’t “need” to sit at the front of the bus?

  61. JKB says:

    @john personna: Aren’t those cases again where the conservatives want Minority Rule?

    It might be minority issues but that minority feels they are forced to say things they don’t believe and
    “If they feel they can’t risk expressing that resentment, it can become particularly toxic.”

    The point wasn’t about popularity but about the imposition. But that raises the question about how many really feel intensely about not getting gun control. I suspect that is also a minority issue.

  62. C. Clavin says:

    Oh boy…Jack joins the FETUS brigade.
    FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS FETUS

    Idiots.

  63. markm says:

    @C. Clavin:

    well markm…if it were fact then you might have a point.

    And it is.

  64. C. Clavin says:

    markm…
    do you understand the concept of fact and opinion?

    “…All that had to be done was put together a small piece of legislation that included provisions that ANYONE could say “THAT makes sense and I can see where that might have stopped the VA Tech/Aurora/Sandy Hook killings” and you would have bipartisan support…”

    that’s opinion. it’s not fact. and it’s opinion based on nonsense. the gun lobby watered down the bill. then you come back and say it is so watered down that it wouldn’t be effective so we can’t pass it. so your opinion is 1) based on a total lack of logic and 2) also based on manipulation by the NRA.
    that’s the fact.

  65. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Seriously, no. The politics of these issues is that “fanatics” want to rule national law.

    You can’t turn around and say “you just want us to believe differently,” because that is not the issue. You can believe whatever you want. Just respect the democratic process.

  66. john personna says:

    Or, consider this little thought experiment:

    Imagine that 18 percent of voters think that everyone should eat organic food. Say that 9 percent believe that really strongly, and have the backing of big organic food corporations.

    Since they feel strongly, and many people just “weakly oppose” eating organic, should they be able to pass a law that everyone eats that way?

    If you go down the road that “intense minorities rule,” this is where you end up.

  67. stonetools says:

    @markm:

    As in my example above, if I want to buy a gun from you, I HAVE to go through an FFL where the background check is done. I pay roughly $25 for that service

    YOU. ARE.WRONG. There is no requirement that private sellers of guns conduct background checks on prospective buyers.

    Furthermore, they argue that the term “Gun Show Loophole” is misleading, as private firearm sellers are not required to perform background checks regardless of location—whether they are at a gun show, a flea market, their home, or anywhere else. .[14]

    Also, too:

    Presently, 18 states regulate private firearm sales at gun shows. Seven states require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows (California, Colorado (§12-26.1-101 and § 24-33.5-424, CRS), Rhode Island, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, and Illinois). Four states (Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) require background checks on all handgun, but not long gun, purchasers at gun shows. Seven states require individuals to obtain a permit to purchase handguns that involves a background check (Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota). Certain counties in Florida require background checks on all private sales of handguns at gun shows. The remaining 33 states do not restrict private, intrastate sales of firearms at gun shows in any manner.

    Wikipedia

    You want rational debate? Are you capable of rational debate, guy? You are flat earth wrong, sun revolving the earth wrong, thinking you can levitate through mind power wrong. And you could have found that out by in ten seconds flat by doing your homework.
    The sad part about it is that one of the more “rational” of the gun worshipper crowd, though you are dead wrong on the facts.

  68. C. Clavin says:

    Gun Registry
    Death Panels
    The Laffer Curve
    WMD
    Voter Fraud

    Why is it with Republicans everything comes back to a lie???

  69. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    To be honest, its time the Democrats just stop expecting that Republicans will ever tell the truth and plan strategy acccordingly. Obama spoke about the NRA lying as if that was something he never saw coming and hadn’t planned for. Its time he woke up and straight up assume that they will be lying from the get go. Don’t expect your opponent will play by the rules. THe Rpublicans have shown time and again that there are no rules for them. Rules are only for Democrats.

  70. Coop says:

    Doug:

    I think your analysis in this post is correct – voters, not money, are driving the outcome on this issue. However, I would add one thing. The Senate disproportionately amplifies the political voice of the pro-gun crowd because they by and large live in smaller states. In contrast, most gun control supporters live in more populous states, where their political power is diluted by disproportionate representation in the Senate. If there was proportional representation in the Senate, there would be a much higher likelihood that gun control measures would have passed.

    As Ezra Klein points out:
    “of the senators from the 25 largest states, the Manchin-Toomey legislation received 33 aye votes and 17 nay votes — a more than 2:1 margin, putting it well beyond the 3/5ths threshold required to break a filibuster. But of the senators from the 25 smallest states, it received only 21 aye votes and 29 nay votes.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/18/this-is-not-your-founding-fathers-senate/#comments

    (Ezra goes on to say that we live in a different time from the founders. But he doesn’t realize that most of the prominent founders, Madison, Hamilton, Jay etc, supported proportional representation in the Senate, and only agreed to equal representation through the Connecticut compromise to prevent the union from fracturing, not because they thought it was a good idea for governance. Today, there’s no reason why we should be stuck with such a faulty, anti-democratic structure.)

  71. C. Clavin says:

    “…I think your analysis in this post is correct – voters, not money, are driving the outcome on this issue…”

    C’mon…given an up or down vote the bill passes.
    It’s lobbyists and technicalities.
    Even if you consider voters…like the gun voters above…the lobbyists have them so f’ing scared they are going to lose their guns…that it still comes back to the lobbyists.

  72. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Coop is agreeing that it is non-democratic, anti-democratic, but he thinks it is structural in a different way, via non-proportional representation in the Senate, rather than driven by money.

    Assuming every anti-vote in every Senate seat was representative of that state population’s desires, then sure.

    I really doubt it broke that way. I think that at the margin money and intensity (nuttiness) matter.

  73. Dazedandconfused says:

    @JKB:

    Funny, you don’t seem to take this opinion when the matter is aborting fetuses or gay marriage or even school prayer. Pick your prog cause. It’s the same.

    I haven’t posted anything on those topics. You must be thinking of somebody else.

  74. Coop says:

    Assuming every anti-vote in every Senate seat was representative of that state population’s desires, then sure.

    Not necessarily. Basically repeating what Doug said – the senators will vote so that they don’t lose votes – that doesn’t mean that they vote on every issue in the way that the public wants. It doesn’t matter if you vote in a way that the public doesn’t want, as long as they vote for you regardless. For a lot of these Senators, there may be public support for gun control measures, but if they vote for it, they stand to lose the votes of the passionate pro-gun crowd (since this is the issue they vote on), where as if they vote against it, they probably wouldn’t lose very many votes of the anti-gun crowd since that’s not an issue that they actually vote on.

    Additionally, there is evidence suggesting that spending by the NRA doesn’t actually affect outcomes in Congressional races, which causes me to believe that the NRA isn’t influencing outcomes on Congressional votes as much as people claim.

  75. john personna says:

    @Coop:

    When you make the first distinction, that Senators vote so as to not lose too many [supporters], you sort of lay the groundwork for the money argument.

    So say then, money doesn’t matter … why exactly?

    If Senators are only trying to get enough votes, while also getting enough money, it pretty much becomes my position.

  76. Caj says:

    @Jack:

    Jack.

    It’s clear that you are not on the same wave length of common sense as myself. So I’ll let you rant on about total nonsense. Enjoy your day.

  77. Coop says:

    @john personna:

    My understanding of the money argument is as follows:

    The NRA will funnel a lot of money into a future race for any person who votes against a gun control bill, and will fund the candidate who opposes the person who supports the bill (whoever ends up running against the person the next election). This likely also entails attack ads, and things of that sort. As a result, Senators vote against it so that they can secure these donations in future campaigns and avoid losing the NRA’s much needed support.

    The response is even if the NRA said that they would give a Senator mountains of cash, that Senator wouldn’t vote against the bill if voters would actually hold them accountable for it. So it’s not the money that’s determining how Senators vote, as much as it’s the voting patterns of their potential constituency. This then raises the question of whether voting patterns are determined by how much money is spent. And the evidence strongly suggests no: (1) data shows the amount the NRA contributes has no correlation whatsoever to the outcome of the race – they’ve been on the losing side about as frequently as on the winning side. (2) The NRA doesn’t spend enough on particular races to exert any real influence on the outcome. They spend a lot overall, but this is spread out over so many races that for each candidate it make up less than 1% of the contributions they receive.

  78. john personna says:

    @Coop:

    I added some data here. Several “pro-gun” state actually had high approval for background checks, which their pro-gun Senators ignored.

  79. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @markm: I have to point out that you’re wrong on two points.

    1) Face-to-face gun transfers do NOT require a background check — your example is from a transaction where the two parties do not meet. And in your example, the background check is triggered (pardon the pun) not by the SALE of the gun, but the TRANSFER, involving shipping the gun. And the background check is triggered by the shipping, where federal law requires that at least one party to the shipping be a licensed gun dealer — and he or she has to do the background check on the recipient.

    2) You seem to think that Cliffy can be spoken to as if he’s an intelligent human being. You’re wasting your time.