Now that the faithful are gathering in Dallas for their annual toy show, mainstream media will start revving up their usual scare stories about the NRA’s ‘power’ and ‘influence,’ with the usual stories about the gazillions of dollars that the gun lobby’s Congressional toadies receive for their campaigns. The only problem with these stories, which give gun-control organizations a hook they can use to pull in some more dough, is that the cash machine in Fairfax really isn’t any kind of fundraising juggernaut. In fact, when you look at the numbers, it turns out that NRA financial support for pro-gun Senators and Congressmen adds up to very little at all.
Let’s look at the 2016 election cycle data published by Open Secrets, which gives pretty reliable numbers for what the NRA and every other politically-active organization spends on candidates running for the Senate and the House. In 2016 the NRA paid out $834,115 to 278 lucky recipients, which works out to $3,000 apiece. Some got more, others got less, but the bottom line is that promising the NRA that you will vote their way means you’ll get, on average, three grand for your Congressional campaign. Total spending for Congressional races in 2016 ran slightly above $4 billion, with individual Senate races costing $1.5 million and each House race running 500 grand. Bottom line: if you want to run for a House seat, after your campaign cashes that big, fat NRA check, you still have to raise another $497,000 from somewhere else.
There are some public servants who are so craven to the 2nd Amendment that they receive considerably more dough from the Fairfax boys; take for example, Senator Roy Blunt. Our boy Roy has pulled in $1,488,706 from the NRA over the course of his Congressional career, and that’s not chopped liver even in my book. But since Blunt is one of the Senate guys who will always do whatever he can to stop any meaningful gun-law reform (or any gun controls of any kind, for that matter) he’s worth every NRA dime, right? But if you go back and look at how much money Blunt has raised since he began his Congressional career in 1996, the total runs to more than $53 million. In other words, the NRA’s dollars represent less than 3 percent.
Want a few other examples of what NRA donations mean to their Congressional friends? Barbara Comstock (R-VA) raised $2,785,000 to hold onto her House seat in 2016; she got $10,400 in ‘blood money,’ which is 3/10ths of one percent. Dickie Burr, the red Senator from North Carolina, was the recipient of $8,900 dollars’ worth of NRA largesse, which represented one-sixteenth of one percent of the nearly 13 million that he raised. On the other hand, the $9,900 that Frank Guinta received from America’s first civil rights organization actually amounted to a whole, big six-tenths of one percent of the money he raised to defend his Congressional seat. By the way, he lost.
When our friend Shannon Watts first became a thorn in the gun industry’s side, the pro-gun trolls made a big deal about how she worked for Monsanto and helped the chemical company poison the earth. I don’t notice any of those hapless morons being in the slightest bit concerned when that same company gave Roy Blunt $117,900 over the last five years. Now that’s serious money – not the chicken-feed dispensed by the NRA.
Like it or not, there happen to be a lot of Americans who believe they should have the ‘right’ to own a gun, even if many of them don’t own guns. And politicians representing that constituency are going to vote for 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ NRA dollars or not. What our friends in the gun-control movement need to figure out is why so many people believe the nonsense which says that a gun is more of a benefit than a risk, a more challenging task than just complaining about the ‘powerful’ NRA.