With another mass shooting in the United States and the seeming inability of the federal government to do anything about it, I wanted to take a look at a reason why the political will to change the system appears to be lacking.
From OpenSecrets, here is a graph showing how much the gun rights lobby has contributed every cycle to the nation's election campaigns since 1990:
Here is a chart breaking down the total contributions by source (PAC versus individual donations) and how much went to the Republicans and Democrats:
In total, since 1990, the gun rights lobby has contributed over $31 million to both the Republicans and Democrats. That works out to an average of $2.57 million per election cycle over the 12 election cycles from 1990 to 2012. As you can see, over the 13 election cycles, the Republicans have been the beneficiary of most of the funds, receiving just under $27 million or 87 percent of the total compared to only $3.9 million or 13 percent of the total for the Democrats as shown on this graph:
Gun rights advocates were far busier than their opponents in the 2012 election cycle, donating 830 times more money to both political parties and candidates than their opponents ($4.178 million versus $5,036) as you can see on this bar graph showing the contributions made by the gun control groups:
Not surprisingly, most of the gun control money (what little there was) went to the Democrats as shown on this chart:
The gun rights groups have also been rather busy lobbying in Washington as shown on this bar graph:
In 2013 alone, the gun rights lobby has spent $9.1 million on getting Congress and the Senate to see things their way. This is a new lobbying spending record by the gun rights lobby (nearly $3 million more than was spent in 2000, the previous record) and the year isn't even over yet.
Here are the most active clients of the 47 gun rights lobbyists thus far in 2013:
Interestingly, of the 47 lobbyists involved, 51.1 percent are "revolvers" who had previous connections to Washington as shown on this list:
As I noted above, thus far in 2013, gun rights clients have spent $9.1 million on lobbying. As shown here, you can see a substantial difference in the funds spent on lobbying by the gun control clients:
Thus far in 2013, gun control clients have only spent $995,900 on lobbying, just under 11 percent of the total spent by gun rights clients. As well, you can quickly see that since 2004, gun control clients have spent well less than $500,000 annually on lobbying compared to gun rights clients that have spent more than $4 million each year over the same time frame, excluding 2006 when they spent just over $3 million.
Money buys influence and with a well-heeled gun rights political machine operating in Washington, it is no wonder that there is no meaningful change about to take place when it comes to American gun laws. With the current fractious Congress and Senate and with the Republicans relatively heavily funded by the gun rights lobby, it is highly unlikely that Washington will ever agree to make the changes that a majority of the voting public wants.