Gun control debate on fire, gun industry defensive
Gun ownership has become one of the most heated debates in the nation, polarizing consumers from coast to coast. Gun sales are rising in an already thriving industry as aficionados stock up, fearing what may come. The White House is considering 19 separate gun control measures that could be passed by executive order. Meanwhile, it is meeting stiff opposition from gun advocates and from the National Rifle Association, which may or may not have close ties to the $12 billion-a-year firearms industry.
Gun control measures being considered
In 2011, according to the FBI, 10,037,110 background checks were conducted in efforts to purchase firearms of various kinds. However, that represents only part of the true number of sales. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, some 40 percent of gun sales occur without background checks. These transactions are conducted online, at gun shows and through private sellers.
The 19 measures President Obama is considering could include imposing stiffer penalties for those who lie on background checks or who traffic in guns, limiting the import of firearms from overseas, and greater sharing and scrutiny of the mental health records of would-be gun buyers.
The President has already made it clear that he supports a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity clips, over which he will face an uphill battle with Congressional Republicans.
Opposition takes aim
Gun supporters are speaking out vehemently against the Administration’s push, from grass roots to the top political players in the nation. Some say they will wage civil war if the administration goes after their weapons. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has vowed a move to impeach President Obama if he takes executive order on any of the measures.
Stockman said that the move would be unconstitutional, adding that he “will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary.”
The National Rifle Association
The Administration’s efforts are being opposed the most vehemently, however, by the National Rifle Association, which is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. In the wake of the Newtown mass shooting tragedy — the incident that fired up the current national debate on gun control — the NRA has called for armed guards in schools and an examination of video game violence rather than considering the possibility of further regulating gun sales.
The NRA says that its purpose is to protect the second amendment rights of American citizens, and that it has no ties to the gun industry. However, a recent comprehensive Huffington Post piece by Peter Dreier questions that with some pretty compelling data. The article indicated that the NRA’s interest has always favored the gun industry over its rank-and-file contributing members.
Dreier said: “The NRA is … primarily a corporate lobby group working on behalf of the gun and ammo manufacturers, similar to the trade associations that represent car manufacturers … and other industries. All of them claim to do what’s best for the consumers of their products … but everyone knows that they primarily serve the interests of the corporations who fund and govern them.”