The gun lobby wields an enormous amount of money and influence in American politics. Since 1990, three corporate gun lobby organizations -the National Rifle Association (NRA), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and Gun Owners of America (GOA) – have given $5.3 million to candidates’ committees, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. And that number doesn’t even include outside spending. The NRA PAC spends even more — most recently, they spent nearly 14 million on the 2012 elections, and for 2014, they have raised nearly 20 million dollars to spend opposing and supporting candidates.
That’s a lot of money, and there’s plenty to go around in both Republican and Democratic political circles. So how do you know if the gun lobby is in your representatives’ pockets? Besides the obvious circular rhetoric revolving around gun sense and the rabid defense of gun ownership for all, I mean?
Well, there’s a new website out by the the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to help you learn more about local politicians and their affiliates with gun lobbying groups. Brady launched a video, website and a detailed scorecard exposing members of Congress for the campaign dollars they have taken from the corporate gun lobby. More often than not, the same politicians took money and then voted against stricter background checks.
The Brady website calls out all legislators regardless of their party based on two simple criteria: do they take money from the corporate gun lobby, and do they support expanding Brady background checks to online and gun show sales?
It’s a simple question but it’s surprising how many politicians would duck the answer if given the choice. More than one-half (53%) of the members of the current Congress are rated as NRA “Lap Dogs” — they take money from the corporate gun lobby in exchange for blocking Brady background check legislation. Of the members of Congress who constantly vote against expanding background checks to online and gun show sales, 95% of them have taken money from the corporate gun lobby. In fact, they’ve rake over $5 million dollars since 1990.
“Lap Dogs” named and shamed by the Brady campaign include House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who hasn’t allowed a House vote on background checks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), House Judiciary Chair, Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), among many others.
“Sometimes comedy is the best way to call attention to a serious issue, and you do not find an issue more serious than this one. These ‘Lap Dog’ politicians are putting the financial interests of the gun industry ahead of the safety of the American people. Americans are literally dying as a result, and it is time for all of us to say enough,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Even worse, when we look at the money the corporate gun lobby has given directly to these politicians, it is shocking how little money it takes to turn them into ‘lap dogs.’ We are very fortunate to be working with Adam McKay, one of the great comedy geniuses of all time, to help give this deadly and serious issue the attention it deserves,” added Gross.
Ninety percent of the American public supports expanding background checks to online and gun show sales, which would prevent guns from falling into the hands of prohibited purchasers like felons, rapists and domestic abusers. Many gun buyers take special pains to avoid the background checks and the internet provides a convenient loophole for illegal gun purchases. Time after time, a Republican controlled, obstructionist Congress has voted to keep the loophole open.
The video and congressional scorecard are featured on a special website, www.lapdogscorecard.org, which provides an interactive map so visitors can determine if their representatives and senators in Congress are “Lap Dogs.” Visit the website to learn more and take part in the campaign on social media.