Journalism in the Public Interest

By the Numbers: Comparing Spending by Gun Rights and Gun Control Interest Groups

When it comes to influencing elections and lobbying Congress, who’s got the upper hand?


National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre holds a news conference at the Willard Hotel on Dec. 21, 2012, one week after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (Chip Somodevilla /Getty Images)

Political spending by gun rights groups far outweighs that by gun control groups. Here, we break down just how wide the discrepancy is.

We define gun rights groups as non-profit organizations that lobby Congress and advocate on behalf of the ownership and use of firearms, and we define gun control groups as non-profit organizations that lobby Congress and advocate for gun control legislation. (Where relevant, we've also included donations from super PACs where gun control policy is a major focus.)

We've honed in on the largest and most prominent of these special interest groups. See how their spending breaks down

Federal Campaign Contributions

Total amount of top campaign contributions by gun rights interest groups in 2012
Percent of the above figure donated to Republicans
Total campaign contributions by the National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun rights group, in 2012
Percent of the above figure donated to Republicans
Total campaign contributions by gun control interest groups in 2012
Percent of the above figure donated to Democrats
Largest-ever total of campaign contributions from the gun control lobby (in 2000)

Independent Expenditures

(defined by the Federal Election Commission as an advertisement "expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate")

NRA's reported independent expenditures in the 2012 election cycle
How much the NRA spent against all Democratic candidates in 2012
How much the NRA spent against President Obama in 2012
Reported independent expenditures in the 2012 election cycle by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the largest grassroots organization dedicated to gun control measures
Amount spent by Independence USA PAC, a super PAC founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2012 that focuses on issues of gun control, school reform and marriage equality, to help unseat former U.S. Rep. Joe Baca, R-Calif., known to be pro-gun rights
Amount spent by Independence USA PAC this election to help unseat former U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., known to oppose restrictions on gun ownership


Amount that gun rights groups on a whole spent lobbying Congress in 2012
Amount that the NRA spent lobbying Congress in 2012
Number of congressional bills NRA lobbied on behalf of in 2012
Number of U.S. House members to whom NRA has given an "A" rating
Number of U.S. House members to whom NRA has given a "D" or "F" rating
Number of U.S. senators to whom NRA has given an "A" rating
Number of U.S. senators to whom NRA has given a "D" or "F" rating
Amount that gun control groups on a whole spent lobbying Congress in 2012
Percent of the above figure spent solely by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of mayors founded in 2006 dedicated to promoting gun control initiatives
Largest-ever amount the Brady Campaign spent on lobbying (in 2004)
Amount the Brady Campaign spent lobbying Congress in 2012
Number of congressional bills the Brady Campaign lobbied on behalf of in 2012
Largest-ever amount gun control groups on a whole spent lobbying Congress (in 2001)


NRA's total revenue in 2010 (most recent year available)
Total amount NRA collected from membership dues and fees in 2010
Number of NRA employees in 2010
Number of NRA volunteers in 2010
Current estimated number of NRA members
Estimated membership of Gun Owners of America, another gun rights lobbying group
Total compensation for NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in 2010
Total compensation for NRA Executive Director of General Operations Kayne Robinson in 2010
Estimated contribution range to NRA from outside corporations since 2005 through a corporate-giving program, per a report by the Violence Policy Center, a non-profit organization that advocates for stricter gun control
Percent of the above amount contributed by the firearms industry (manufacturers and sellers of guns and gun products)
Estimated revenue in 2012 by the gun and ammunitions industry
Brady Campaign's total revenue in 2010 (most recent year available)
Number of Brady Campaign employees in 2010
Number of Brady campaign volunteers in 2010
Total compensation for Brady Campaign's then-president Paul Helmke in 2010
Total revenue drawn by Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund in 2010

If only its members would realize that the NRA is both a profit-making organizations and—essentially—a lobbying group to increase that profit. If only the members would see how they are being “slicked” by the greed of gun manufacturers and the like—using their skills to develop fear and hormone-induced threats so as to make a profit. Gun-ownership is not a big deal; the attitude of fear that makes people buy more guns after guns are used to kill children is what gun manufacturers work at. Success!! Profits!

Joseph Salomone

Dec. 31, 2012, 1:25 p.m.

I hate the NRA too. I hate any organization that puts money into politics. The problem is that the vast majority of gun ranges/clubs require you to be an NRA member. Thankfully the range I signed up for only requires you to be an NRA member on sign up, and you do not have to stay an NRA member. Therefore, I will only be an NRA member for 1 year.

Dean Weingarten

Dec. 31, 2012, 1:27 p.m.

The above analysis is terribly flawed because it does not include the enormous expenditures against gun rights by billionaires Bloomberg and Soros, nor the tremendous amount of “in kind” expenditures by the major networks, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post in support of restricting Americans right to keep and bear arms.

To that end Dean, the NRA’s money comes primarily from its 4 million plus membership base. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other affiliated groups are almost solely supported by a small handful of deep pocketed liberals and left wing foundations. The difference is quite stunning.

The membership of the NRA represents less than 5% of the 80,000,000 firearms owners in America. Obama could never have been elected in the first place, let alone reelected, without the votes of 10s of millions of gun owners. Now, really, whose fault is it that they’re perceived to be so powerful?

Dean and Mike -

You guys nailed it. I am so tired of the libs painting the NRA as some behemoth that is only working for firearms manufacturers and out of touch with gun owners.

I want the NRA and GOA to refuse to budge. Give the antis a crumb and I guarantee they’ll come back for the whole sandwich. Theirs is a total disarmament agenda. They are going after ARs/AKs first because it is the easiest to sell to an uninformed and gullible public.

We need a lot MORE spending on the side of gun rights to protect our liberty and right to bear our arms in public to defend ourselves against the lone nutcases. We’ve been disarmed in public and have no ability to defend ourselves when the rare crazy person shows up. The high body counts tell the story unlike cases like the one involving Jeanne Assam in which so many lives were saved simply because law abiding citizens were armed.

The rare and lone nut cases can build guns if they have to. They can use bombs instead. They will always be around and always able to inflict harm. Us law abiding citizens need to be able to defend ourselves with firearms.

Matthew Cowan

Dec. 31, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

It is not cheap to fight to keep liberty.  I is easy and cost nothing to lose it..  Those who do belong to the NRA realize that it is an important fight to keep and maintain the rights as they are guaranteed under the 2nd amendment.  No one has to give a dime to Feinstein for her to push legislation against guns.  In 1995 she said out right she wants to ban ALL guns and confiscate them.  Unfortunately there are many who are willing to trade their rights away in the name of safety which in the end will not provide safety but servitude.

I just gave the NRA more money to protect our rights as Americans!! Keep this country safe and free!!

Just sent the NRA another e-check. I do not wish to be dis-armed when so many nuts are running loose,,,,armed and dangerous. Guns are NOT the problem PEOPLE are. In this State we will likely see a couple of dozen killed by traffic ’ accident ’ this very night. We need to stop letting everyone drive,,,,, with, or without a license.

Stop trying to paint members of the NRA as naive.  We know exactly what we are fighting for. We hope the NRA is making money.  We believe in our rights and try as you might to paint us as nuts, the truth of the matter is we are patriots who believe in the greatness of this country and the people who choose to live here.  I’m shocked that those same people who witnessed the brutality with which the police treated the Occupy Wallstreet protesters would then turn around and seek to disarm the populace.  Think people!  Who gains when the citizens are unarmed?

And most of those forking over their money to the likes of the LaPierres yell and scream about Union Members dues going in support of political actions, and they just loves their sugar daddy billionaires who fund their phony grassroots orgs!

“Iraq vet: Newtown changed my mind on gun control”

Like many people I know and public figures I’ve seen recently, the killings in Newtown’s elementary school have made me reconsider my position on gun control. As a hunter, a veteran, and a dyed-in-the-wool radical, I write this to show fellow gun owners and, more important, my fellow Americans who are distrustful of an armed government with an unarmed populace that the logic I espoused for most of my life is bankrupt.
The Second Amendment stopped giving the insurrectionists among us a chance as soon as military technology advanced beyond the rifle.

From a brother Vietnam Vet:

  We are currently {again, not anymore, civil society} in the great “Gun debate”. Internet tough guys and gals are opining that they would have taken down the gunman if they were there and been armed. Well ‘f’ you. You haven’t a clue what it takes to react to bullets flying everywhere, people screaming and trying get away, adrenalin triggering all kinds of responses you have never encountered before, and trying to control your bladder because that’s one of the effects of terror, ask anyone whose been in their first firefight. You are not Rambo. You are not trained for it. You have not been baptized under fire and you sure haven’t killed anyone before except in your fantasies. They think it’s easy, its not. What if you miss and kill a bystander? Are you really ready to live with that? Too many of my veteran friends have to deal with it every day and I see the damage it does.

Myself: USN All Shore ‘67-‘71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ‘70-‘71


Dec. 31, 2012, 5:10 p.m.


I just Googled “how to build a bomb” and got 52,700,000 hits in .16 seconds.

Guns? Who needs guns?

Just sayin’...

walter d. shutter, jr.

Dec. 31, 2012, 6:04 p.m.

Looks like the people put their money where their mouths were.

Stephanie Palmer

Dec. 31, 2012, 7:12 p.m.

Lapierre said that Congress should appropriate whatever is necessary to put guns in the schools. I wonder how he thinks that would ever happen. Our congress doesn’t even want to feed the kids, what makes him think they would spend a dime to protect them? And if the NRA is so sure about this idea, why don’t they pay for it?

Wow! What “interesting” responses here from the gun-nuts who’ve posted here! (those people who claim they’re protecting their rights, yet have absolutely no sense of responsibility towards protecting the well-being of their fellow citizens). I’m sure they’ll continue bombarding this article with their fact-free emotion-laden, paranoid arguments, and they’ll also continue to ignore global statistics which conclusively prove that plenty of guns equals plenty of murders. But it would seem the majority of citizens from those other far less violent, gun-regulated countries don’t fear and hate their own government as do so many in the NRA. I’m especially fascinated with DONALD D SAMS III’s all caps run-on-sentence rant, and am quite positive he’s someone I would not like to meet at all - especially in a dark alley.

“Mayors Against Illegal Guns” is the organization I donate to since it has been extremely active recently - well before the latest “spectacular” which has finally awakened the debate again. Our sign of real hope is that the movement towards regulation seems to be gaining momentum instead of waning after the usual short news cycle (for a refreshing change). Now all we have to do is get sensible bills submitted and have our representatives in congress vote the will of their constituents instead of satisfying the NRA lobbyists who’ve bought so many of them off. The majority of Americans actually do want to reduce death by gun violence here. We need to stay the course, make ourselves heard, and make it happen. The NRA spends money buying legislators and the media. It’s worked for them far too long and successfully. Time to use the same tactics to drown out their rabid noise: ....” arm teachers?” Really??!!!.... and come up with the common sense solutions most of us want.

Jerry Lee Mayeux

Dec. 31, 2012, 8:28 p.m.

Consider the Connection to:
Environmental Conservation CTC2 [PEOPLE]
Conservation is the wise-use, management & development of the Earths natural resources, including PEOPLE.
The NRA is NOT a conservation organization!
Google: League of Conservation Voters on NRA

Thanks for the article. However, isn’t the current issue less about spending more money, and more about how our judicial system, and law enforcement ignore psychology, violence especially domestic violence, and continue to fail to enforce laws against violent offenders? Would it cost us anymore for courts to actually follow the law and take threats of violence, and the dangerously mentally ill seriously??? What on earth do I mean? Does anyone remember John Allen Muhammad the Beltway Sniper? Did anybody take his wife seriously? Is anybody taking the warnings that WE ARE GETTING IN ADVANCE seriously? Of course not, and that is the true root of this issue. Frankly, the political posturing on this issue is getting sickening, and the courses in discussion are unlikely to produce change.

Other countries such as Australia -Britain - Norway hav e experinced mass shootings.
In Britain and Australia their government’s enacted stronger anti gun legislation following these hoorendous mass shootings.
Meanwhile, in america mass shootings occur including the slaughter of 20 small childern and gun advocates race to point out that the real victims are not the children , but gun owners who are being told that some weapons are so deadly that they should not be in the hands of the general public.
History will show the decline of the United States as being caused by arrogance ,selfishness and greed.
Today rabid gun owners are proud to say “our rights before the rights of small children” - Shame on you.

The NRA is doing what the American people, both NRA members and non-NRA 2nd Amendment advocates demand of their grass roots lobby—to portect them from the deep pockets of George Soros, the mainstream media, Michael Bloomberg, the Joyce Foundation’s Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign—all bent on a return to more worthless gun control.

Wow look at the gun lobby in action here. As a Brit it’s funny (but mostly tragic) to read how many people believe that owning assault rifles is the only way to protect ‘freedom’. The levels of delusion on display here are frightening. And to think that that some of the people posting here are allowed to own assault rifles is just horrifying. In Britain, paranoid nut jobs like you would be gently discouraged from owning a pair of scissors.

The NRA’s response to the latest school massacre was pathetic and no better than the idiocy of some of the comments posted here. But as Pro Publica proves, who needs a reasonable argument when you’ve got billions to buy politicians with.

Father Of Three

Jan. 1, 2013, 2:35 a.m.

As a father and gun owner my first resposibility is to the safety of my children. If I thought for one moment that turning in my guns would protect children, I would. I know better as do most of you. Will any of these politicians guarantee that their proposed laws will prevent this from happening again? Of course not. Once again they know better. It is reported that there is currently over 20,000 gun laws in existance today. Did any of these laws prevent the recent atrocities? Once again of course not.
After the most recent school shooting of innocent children Obama appointed Biden over a Gun task force. Did anyone ever stop to think, why didn’t he appoint Biden over a School Safety Task Force? Our children should be safe from anyone who’s intent is to harm our children. The schools should be safe from guns, knives, explosives and or blunt instruments. Our focus should be on keeping our kids safe and securring the schools. Instead the recent murders of school children has become an opportunity for those with an anti-gun agenda to exploit the recent tragedies. I say again, we should be focusing on securing our schools for the children’s safety not pursuing person and political agendas!

Only someone who has lived in a gunless society knows the horrors associated with the stupidity of unarming yourselves to put your faith in your government.  GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

To every republitards here, the Democrats haven’t even looked in the direction of gun control since Obama has been in office. Did you REALLY think that after 20 children were gunned down in a school that no one was going to look at the issue? Seriously? Even after numerous high profile shootings there wasn’t any real response. The NRA and GOP have to have a boogeyman and it was Obama. I remember lapierre ranting about obama taking everyone’s guns before his first term. Then all the tards ran out and bought all the ammo they could find, just like now. Then? NOTHING happened. Obama signed pro gun legislation in his first term. Now that lapierre was proven wrong AGAIN he’s onto the “Obama was just waiting for his second term to take all of your guns and you all fell for that too. It’s entertaining watching the tards foam at the mouth over the dog whistles from the NRA.

2013 has arrived to create a difficult time for makers, lovers and users of privately obtainable GUNS.,
It’s not going to be a forgotten issue once again unlike the past!

Jerry Lee Mayeux

Jan. 1, 2013, 6:39 a.m.

Consider the Connection to: Environmental Conservation CTC2 [PEOPLE]
Conservation is the wise-use, management & development of the Earths natural resources, including PEOPLE.
We are all different “yet” interdepend pieces of the same puzzle, dependent on one another for our survival.
Man is the only living organism that deliberately upsets the balance of nature while in the persuit of money.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Re: robert Today, 1:48 a.m.
Only someone who has lived in a gunless society knows the horrors associated with the stupidity of unarming yourselves to put your faith in your government. 

As someone who lives in a gunless society I’d like to make it clear that the above statement is utter cr*p

This is interesting, but where is the comparison between the lobbying spending between the NRA and violence glorifiying Hollywood and the video game industry?

Isn’t it a shame that something that is written into our Constitution is attacked so vehemently that the NRA has to “Lobby” in order to keep legal firearms into our hands? 
The only reason I’m disgusted by this is because lawmakers would see reason to dismantle our Second Amendment in favor of other lobbyist groups.
All one has to do is look at the “Dollars for Docs” articles and realize that the other side has been lobbying a lot harder than the NRA.  If people really want to see how corrupt our politicians, lawyers, and doctors are.  Look up the “United States vs. Karl Brandt”.  We only fought a World War over legal drugs, and yet today we still have mass shooters hooked on prescription medications. 
If anyone wonders why I like my second amendment rights, look at what our esteemed institutions have provided.  Nothing but institutions built off of drugs and disease…

Let me move from the “BASHING” , some people just HATE guns. I know the single thing that frustrated me, before retiring from Law Enforcement in Az., was the lack of prosecution of felons violating gun laws,by our U.S. ATTORNEYS OFFICE. Its been that way for decades and hasn’t changed. Like most gun owners I am for “RESPONSIBLE” gun ownership. WE TRULY HAVE ALL THE GUN LAWS WE NEED TO REDUCE VIOLENCE, JUST THE ABSENCE OF “WILL” BY U.S ATTORNEYS, EVERYWHERE, TO PROSECUTE. The stats if reviewed by either side, would have both sides, “UNITED” wondering why they aren’t PROSECUTING these criminals!!!!

“I’m sure they’ll continue bombarding this article with their fact-free emotion-laden, paranoid arguments, and they’ll also continue to ignore global statistics which conclusively prove that plenty of guns equals plenty of murders…”

Carolyn displays all the telltale signs of the anti-gun advocate:

1. Discounting any arguments or information presented by RBKA-advocates without presenting any facts herself
2. Personally attacking the character and motives of individual RKBA-advocates and anyone who would support the RKBA, while assuming hers to be a noble cause
3. Finding the presentation of statistics as supporting her antigun advocacy position without critical analysis of methods and bias.

The only people who appear to believe the politicians (Polosi, Feinstein, Boxer, etc.) and gun control organizations (Brady, etc.) recognize and respect the right to bear arms are their supporters and donors, who have all but ceased contributing to their losing cause of banning the private ownership of firearms in the USA.

Firearms homicides are largely committed by young minorities against young minorities in gang-related, drug-related violence in the inner-city populations of 250,000+. Are laws restricting ownership of firearms by older, male, republican men the best we can do to address violence rooted in sociodemographic causes of poverty, education, parenting and moral values? No - but it’s cheaper, quicker and makes you feel good, eh Carolyn?

@ CBJessee. Yep, I left out all of the “facty” stuff in my post. You can read plenty of my well documented comments on this topic by finding the ProPublica article, “The Best Reporting on Guns in America”. Most of my comments appear on page three and they take up a lot of room. I didn’t provide the same evidence in responding to this article since they constitute many paragraphs of dense information - and I’ve grown increasingly impatient with people who ignore statistical evidence from reliable sources in favor of tossing poorly conceived “solutions” against the wall to see what might stick. Again, I repeat: ...“arm teachers?”..... Really??!!!

You will also find that I agree with you that socioeconomic disparity is a leading cause of gun violence. Along with sensible gun regulation, I believe it’s critical these issues of disparity be addressed by providing an even playing field for ALL our citizens.

You mentioned RKBA several times, I assume it’s an acronym. Google tells me it’s a company that offers holsters for a reasonable price. ???

I submitted a petition about the NRA to the White House website. Please sign it & pass it on:

All of that money responsible gun owners donate pales in comparison to the amount of money drug companies pay off politicians with.
The fact of the matter is this.  Doctors have been drugging everyone up with that pharmaceutical garbage.  If you don’t believe that, wikipedia Psychiatry, it literally means the ‘medical treatment of the soul’.  If that isn’t a racket I don’t know what is.  Of course our major religions are in on the hoax as well.  Both are making sure that your liberties are being eroded in name of the almighty dollar for “snake oil”...
Of course Psychiatrist will state that video games and other things contribute to these mass shootings.  They don’t pay them to state otherwise. 
Of course we should not forget that doctors at one point in time stated that smoking wasn’t harmful or addictive either.
Then there’s that little issue of doctors killing 11 million in concentration camps during WW II.  Of course you can trust them to tell the truth.  Especially since we now know that pharmaceuticals have been paying all of them for years…

Part I:

My take, alas, doesn’t fit into a “left-right” paradigm.

Here’s the thing:  I can’t stand guns and hope I never need to use one.  They’re not allowed in my home, period.  Why?  They’re conspicuous, give many a false sense of security, and you don’t know something’s wrong until after you’re dead.

I also hate the NRA.  In my eyes, they do everything in their power to make guns look WORSE to the public, not better.

However, I support the Second Amendment unconditionally.

My reading of the right to bear arms is that we’re allowed to arm ourselves to prevent the government from harming its citizens, NOT that we’re supposed to go perforating trespassers or cows.

Is that warranted?  In the last twelve years, the government has claimed the authority to track, wiretap, kidnap, torture, and execute American citizens without due process, on the merest suspicion of vague involvement with terrorism.  I’m not saying I’m off to join the resistance, but I wonder how easily these bills would be passed if Congressmen had any chance of returning home to armed citizens.  What bills would they pass if they knew nobody they would ever meet could harm them?

I also feel that, when anti-gun advocates are protected by armed guards and many have weapons permits of their own, it’s a little hypocritical of them to say that you and I don’t deserve protection.

So, while I’d be happy for weapons to go away, as long as they do exist, I need to come down in favor of them.  Any other angle seems to put too much faith in a government that has shown no interest in helping us and every interest in treating us like criminals.

I also agree with Mike.  Every one of these school shootings has been tied up with young kids taking some sort of antipsychotic medication.  Given that immature constitutions often manifest side effects, and sometimes manifest the opposite of the drug’s intended effect, I’d much rather cut off the shootings at their source, rather than being happy that the next group of kids were blown up or stabbed to death, but not shot.

(Please note that I’m not suggesting we eliminate pharmaceuticals, because I know they help some people.  I am saying that we need to monitor people who have them prescribed, and we need to keep young people, especially, under constant surveillance.  Even where they don’t harm others, there’s too much of a chance of self-harm.)

And speaking of which, Rod has an important point.  Nobody ever mentions the twenty young kids at the daycare center (plus three pregnant women) who died among many others when Timothy McVeigh blew up the building.

We could also talk drone strikes overseas, where apparently slaughtering children with heavy weaponry is A-OK.  We could also talk about the children who die every day from abuse and neglect.  Or kids who die drowning in pools.  Or drunk driving accidents.

Going after guns is barely a drop in the bucket, compared the the number of problems we could solve by going after something much more dangerous.

But go ahead and paint me as a “gun nut” or an “anti-gun nut.”  I’ll mourn extensively for your not having a high opinion of me.  Really, I will…

Part II:

Anyway, here’s my wish list for a solution to this sort of violence.

1.  Monitor people on mind-altering drugs.  This should be on an in-patient basis for people under the age of 25 or who have shown bad reactions to any drugs in the past.  For example, I once took a “night-time” Tylenol and it kept me up all night.  Because of that, if I were prescribed, say, Prozac, I sure as Hell wouldn’t leave the house unattended for at least a week.

2.  Put a police officer in or very near every school.  Not a security guard, not an armed teacher, not a citizen vigilante, not Gun Free Zone signs, but an actual officer of the law trained to watch entrances and not scare children.  Elementary schools are unique targets in that kids are utterly defenseless, can’t escape effectively, and are too numerous per adult to be managed in an emergency.  Cops are too expensive?  Take a couple off their critical duties of parking their patrol cars in empty parking lots.  We can deal with a few people driving with broken tail lights, and I’d bet every precinct has at least a couple of cops who’d love to get back to the old idea of protecting and serving.

3.  Re-task schools and communities with integrating children into the community.  By encouraging kids to only associate with kids in their own grade, it dehumanizes people and makes it harder to adapt later.  Before it got taken over by retail, Halloween trick-or-treating used to be about parents showing their kids the neighborhood and that the creepy neighbors were real people whose house you should NOT throw eggs at.  Without humanizing people, it’s no wonder that drugged-up kids might not see a school full of kids as anything more than target practice.  School needs to be about outreach, today, especially since it’s pretty easy for kids to learn what they need from groups like Khan Academy.

4.  Strictly limit media coverage.  Everybody in the world now knows this creep’s name and face.  His shooting has a logo and it has theme music.  Does anybody realize what message this sends to every nerd sitting at home, feeling invisible because he or she wasn’t invited to a party?  It says that, if you kill twenty kids, everybody will talk about you for weeks.  It says that survivors will wonder if inviting you to that party would have saved lives.  It manufactures the next shooter.  In reality, the story is important near Newtown, less so the further away you travel.

5.  Mandatory gun training.  Before you let someone touch a gun, you should be 100% sure that person can hit the target he wants, knows how to maintain the gun so that it’s not a danger, and—probably above all—isn’t a freakin’ sociopath.

(Unrelated to the topic at hand, I’d also arrest any reporter caught interviewing children.  At best, it’s exploitation.  At worst, it may cause a suicide when someone in their future high school digs up the video of them bawling.)

Here’s the thing:  A car is basically a multi-ton battering ram that can drive over a hundred miles an hour.  Its tank can be exploded with about the force of five to ten sticks of dynamite.  And yet, of all the millions of people on our roads (and billions, internationally), very few people intentionally cause accidents or drive more than slightly aggressively.

None of us has ever seen someone drive along the lane-divider during rush hour, even though it would let you pass everybody with very little risk.

Why?  Because we weed out most of the morons and creeps.  Note that, despite the danger, and despite even the deaths, nobody talks about banning cars or making them impossible to drive.  And yet, the system still works.

So many wing nuts and so little time to write a meaningful note.
I am referring to the esteemed liberal writers who demonize anyone with an opposing opinon and make clarion calls for safety of our children on a single point of view.

Instead of playing the presidential campaign strategy of demonizing someone on an individual or single comment.  I would suggest to the staff of Propublica and other contributors to build on the comment and offer up solutions.  Examples:

Suggestion #1
If not armed personnel, maybe non-lethal methods.
Against a determined shooter people will mostl likely still die, but their sacrifice may buy time for police, and maybe the children will be spared.

Suggestion #2
If no arming of staff or personnel, then employment of a red zone defense, with a reaction staff that masses and rallies against the attacker, similar to the reactions of the brave souls lost on Flight 93.
Again, for the sake of the children.

Suggestion #3
Red Zone defense part 2.  Put locks on all of the classroom doors in order to slow down the attackers.  Have the teachers stand and fight for their lives with books, tables, chairs, anything they can throw.  We know with great humility that many teachers have sacrificed themselves in the past in order to protect their children.  We should train to do no less.

All of the shouting and no perspective that all of the gun control cause by the media, and this one-sided article do not address a single realistic concern for how to stop a mentally imbalanced individual.  There is no discussion on how differentiate PTSD of veterans from individuals with acute mental disorders that can make them prone to violence.  No, instead everyone gets lumped into one dumpster.  That is an injustice to our veterans, and even victims of violent crime.

Sadly, most of our liberal colleagues have no idea about the long and rich history the NRA has on gun safety and training programs.  I am sure they have never heard of the Eddie the Eagle child safety program, youth training programs, and the development and training of instuctors on individual and range safety.  I am sure they have never read the many hundreds if not thousands of articles that have been published over the last 45 years that I can recall, on ownership and responsibility.

I am also sure that most of the my fellow citizens haven’t stopped to go back and review the last 44 years of gun control (and confiscation hysteria) that has been rammed into our daily lives by the persoanlized agendas of some very rich and powerful liberal groups and individuals.

One writer noted Soros and Bloomberg, but before them there were others like Ted Kennedy.  The funny thing is all of them can afford to pay for personal armed protection that costs more than most of us make in a year.  And—Mayor Bloomberg has NYPD at his disposal.
Once again the elite and intellectuals of society telling the working class how they should live.

As a crime victim I do know what fear is when confronted with violence against my family.  And—I do know what it is like to point a weapon and decide if the trigger should be pulled.  I also know what it is like to live a short time in terror while waiting for the police to arrive, only to learn they were sent to the wrong address.

I liked John part 1, and part 2.  That is a good start for the right kind of dialog.  There are good solutions to be found.  Some of it liked, and some of it I would adjust.  But for goodness sake the guy and a some others are trying to find solutions.

I hope the next headline isn’t “The Dark money of the NRA.”

Rob Moore—I have to call you out on your logic.  High noon.  :)
If you should look back on your history, you would learn that American citizens willingly turned in their guns to the government in order to arm British citizens against an impending invasion by the Nazis.

You should also maybe spend some time talking to local law enforcement along the border with Mexico.  Part of the reason the Cartel death squads don’t roam freely in our border towns is because they know our citizens have a means to protect themselves.

As well, why were all of you not screaming at Propublica to conduct investigative reports on the murders in Juarez, in a country with strict gun control.  What is that death toll now? 50,000? 60,000?

What about the safety of Mexican citizens and their children from the death squads A.K.A. humble drug merchants just trying to make a living.  I think it would be more appropriate to call them, the drug merchants, nut jobs.

Carolyn - thank you for pointing me to your prior posts. You do indeed trot out some data and quotations. So I’ll put you in a much higher category of gun control proponents than I might have based solely on this thread.

But still, raw numbers do not a cause-effect relationship make. One could just as easily chart number of guns owned in the US vs numbers of (you pick the violent crime) and see an inverse relationship. Others have cherry picked various states during various years and found more guns correlated to more crime. Such simple analyses make common sense to the common man, but are usually used to mislead rather than inform. [Although one must wonder why the gun stock in the US has exploded with fewer injuries/deaths per gun. Maybe bad guys own one and good guys own more and more?]

Point to the debate on “More Guns, Less Crime” and you will find a part-time job keeping up with the literature on the topic. A lot of stuff in the medical journals is as one-sided as the stuff in the media - funded by granting bodies, who are funded by organizations, who are bank-rolled by anti-gun zealots (Soros, Bloomberg, etc) [Tell me these guys don’t know how to cover their tracks.]

The better literature is in the criminal law and econometrics journals. If you follow the “More Guns, Less Crime” hypothesis by John Lott, it is indeed very hard to sort peer-reviewed literature from “paid advertising”, even if you can spot the self-published “white papers” in the mix. Papers stashed in published transactions of colloquia that were biased by funding and invitations, with some papers never even presented - just added after the fact. Other papers “reviewed” by a panel of like-minded colleagues.

Lott claims that all peer-reviewed papers either support More Guns = Less Crime, or find no relationship, positive or negative. One paper now rejects his hypothesis, but the author failed to share data as required by the journal’s editorial policy, so Lott has discounted that paper.

The National Research Council committee of 10 concluded no conclusion could be made, with 9 avowed gun control advocates concurring and one pro gun advocate dissenting, so the official outcome is “undecided”. The solution required by the 9 was to register who owned what kind of gun and where so that data could be generated to answer the question. That was funny - enact universal gun/gun owner registration to assess whether such registration was warranted :-)

Fritzie Borgwardt

Jan. 2, 2013, 4:19 p.m.

If the Gun Lobby wants armed guards in all schools to protect children from being rapidly picked off in a barrage of military-style gunfire, (and I am not armed guards are even a good idea myself,) then the Gun Lobby, not the taxpayer, should pay for each and every one of those guards.

Gun owners and sellers ought to be required to carry insurance for any damage their guns might do to human beings. Insurance companies will soon figure out who is and who is not likely to require a payout, even before any new carnage helps with the algorithm. 

And how well will background checks work when it comes to mental health? The most disturbed individuals don’t seek help, and refuse to acknowledge they need any. I would argue that if you think you need a military-style assault rifle in civilian life, you are already mentally disturbed.

@ CBJessee: Thanks for your recent post. You provided several paragraphs on the hypothesis that more Guns result in Less Crime yet I have no data which supports it.

As I stated in a previous post (not directed at you, but another poster) in the ProPublica article, “The Best Reporting on Guns in America”: “I’m also aware that raw statistics (such as those I posted) are glaring, even taking the obvious data gathering inconsistencies between countries/jurisdictions into account. The only means to make certain that gun violence data is consistent is to have a central authority which gathers a thorough and honest account from all parties in all countries. Never gonna happen. So therein lies the escape hole which allows you (NRA) to dismiss all collected data, from “incomplete” to “pretty good”, as worthless.

None of the data pretends to point to the “cause” of gun violence, simply the incidence. You (NRA), seem to think we conflate the two - thus you believe we think simply getting rid of guns will solve all of our problems and bring safety to our streets. Quite naive…...Cultural differences ... are in my view central to our own incidence of gun violence, and I would break it down into regional differences, political/economic polarization, urban density, racial groupings/inequalities, religion infused into the political system, education level and access (stressing the vital need for critical thinking skills which help us make informed decisions) - just for starters. I believe all of these issues need to be confronted (a daunting task) along with the triage approach in making access to firearms and ammunition much more difficult and holding those who have them more accountable. If we instead, as the NRA proposes, just continue the narrow self-destructive believe that our only choice for survival is to ignore gun violence and the real problems behind gun violence - instead simply hunker down and continue our arms race for self defense against our neighbors and our own government, we’re all lost ....”

Making the necessary changes requires an attention span, long term planning, and follow-through - in a country which seems to lack all of these components.

My previous statement about Beirut sums up my fears about our growing polarization combined with our internal arms race/paranoia against our own government: “Beirut, recently a thriving/growing city and banking center in the middle east ...was ... recently destroyed - but from within via a civil war conducted by their own feuding, well armed, inflexible, polarized Lebanese citizens who couldn’t seem to find means to find enough common cause within their own borders to hold their country together and continue to thrive as a whole. As a result, everybody lost.”

@ Fritzie Borgwardt: Yessss!!!! The NRA should fund the fixes if we’re not going to deal with the proliferation of assault weapons. (designed to kill people or practice killing people). Regarding mental health issues, the most disturbed individuals, often hidden from scrutiny, are not only incapable of thinking they need help, they believe all the rest of us are nuts - and that we’re quite disposable!!

When talking about arming teachers, I think the NRA either took too an extreme of a stance or the anti-NRA used hyperbole to discount the stance. 

If any teacher, deemed mentally competent and should already have a background check, wanted to carry concealed, they should be allowed.

They should also be trained by the local PD free of charge. To get a person off the street competent and safe with a handgun takes about 2 weeks (10 training days) at the outside and a cost of 2 or 3 thousand dollars in training and ammo, less if you used law enforcement and not private instruction.

This does not mean teachers in elementary schools would be strapping rifles across their backs for reading time. It means they would be properly trained in how to ‘conceal’ the presence of the weapon, and how to safely store it, whether that is in a purse, in a desk, in a safe, anywhere unobtrusive in the room.

In the case of the fearless teacher who lied to the shooters face about her kids being elsewhere and then was shot it would play out something like….

Identify the attack (she did)

Direct the children to safety or hiding (she did)

Wait in the room to distract the shooter( she did)

The only thing different in this scenario if she were to be “armed” would be during the waiting period she would unlock a safe, remove a handgun with 1 or 2 magazines, move her desk to a barricaded position and wait. If someone crazy shows up she defends the children, which means shoot the person shooting the children instead of getting shot.

Nevermind the inflammatory speech at the beginning paragraphs. Read the statistics.

That alternate course of action that brave lady could have took is completely attainable and would be transparent to the children. Because it would be on a voluntary basis, if a teacher did not want to they would not have to participate. If you had one or two people on campus properly trained, the response time to the incident is drastically reduced.

It does not mean teachers are walking around like commandos. It does not mean they have guns on them at all times.

It means that if one or two individuals who felt comfortable getting training, they could immediately move to a safely stored weapon and begin immediately defending children.

The NRA failed or is incapable of that sort of explanation due to it being a political lightning rod, and the anti-NRA unwilling to grasp the intent or even explore how it would work, and fails to be open minded towards a solution that doesn’t involve the banning of guns.

Plenty of blame on both sides.

Any $$$ from the NSSF - the National Shooting Sports Foundation - gun mfrs association in Newtown, CT.?

Saleem Hatoum

Jan. 3, 2013, 12:19 a.m.

This American and this is how things are done here. This Soros and Bloomberg wished that people could only do things the way they think is good and beneficial.

To those who incessantly whine and use a narrative about SAFETY and THE CHIIIIIIILDREN.  You will find nowhere in the constitution where the government is to provide “safety” for anyone, but rather to protect our rights.  If you cannot handle freedom and feel you must give up your freedom for PERCEIVED safety, PLEASE LEAVE THIS COUNTRY….YOU ARE NOT A REAL AMERICAN BUT AN INSURGENT…..I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE A VETERAN, YOU STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND A WHIT ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION THE RUDIMENTARY ELEMENTS OF FREEDOM AND YOU ARE DANGEROUS TO OUR NATION AND YOU ARE MY, AND EVERY REAL AMERICAN’S ENEMY!

Well I am sure putting everything at the end of your post in all caps will get it through to people disagreeing with you.

This would be an example of the pro-NRA side not communicating effectively.

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