Gun Rights vs. Gun Control Who Controls Washington?

I haven’t published on this subject for quite some time but with the recent events in the United States and the nation’s ongoing issues with gun-related violence, I wanted to take another look at the connection between gun rights and politics.  Thanks to Open Secrets, we have a clear picture of the contrast between the political power of the gun rights and the gun control sides of the equation.  

Let’s start by looking at the gun rights side of the debate.   Here is a bar graph showing the political contribution trends of the gun rights lobby for each election cycle since 1990:

In total, since 1990, the gun rights side has contributed $41.934 million to candidates running for federal office.

Here is a bar graph showing how political contributions from the gun rights side of the debate have benefitted the Republican side of the political spectrum:

Of the total of $41.934 million since 1990, 89 percent has gone to Republican candidates and 11 percent has gone to Democratic candidates.

Here is a breakdown of which gun rights associations donated to candidates in the 2016 election cycle:

Here are the top 20 recipients of gun rights donations during the 2016 cycle, noting that Donald Trump heads the list by a wide margin:

Now, let’s switch to the gun control side of the debate.  Here is a bar graph showing the political contribution trends of the gun control lobby for each election cycle since 1990:

In total, since 1990, the gun control side has contributed $4.186 million to candidates running for federal office, roughly one-tenth of the donations that were made by the gun rights lobby over the same timeframe.

Here is a bar graph showing how political contributions by the gun control side have benefitted the Democratic side of the political spectrum:

Of the total of $4.186 million donated since 1990, 96 percent has gone to Democratic candidates and 4 percent has gone to Republican candidates.

Here is a breakdown of which gun control associations donated to candidates in the 2016 election cycle:

Here are the top 20 recipients of gun control donations during the 2016 cycle noting that Hillary Clinton heads the list by a very wide margin, even when compared to her competitor, Bernie Sanders: 

As we all know, lobbying is a Washington pastime.  It is through this mechanism that various interest groups get Congress and the President to see things “their way”.  Let’s now take a look at  a comparison of how much was spent by the gun rights and gun control sides of the debate on lobbying in Washington.

Here is a bar graph showing how much the gun rights lobby spent on lobbying annually in Washington going back to 1998:

In the peak year (2013), the gun rights lobby spent $15.292 million on lobbying. 

Here is a list of the major gun rights groups lobbying in Washington and how much they have spent so far in 2017:

Let’s look at the spending on lobbying by the gun control side of the debate.  Here is a bar graph showing how much the gun control lobby spent on lobbying annually in Washington going back to 1998:

In the peak year (2013), the gun control lobby spent $2.217 million on lobbying, roughly one-seventh of that spent in the same year by the gun rights lobby. 

Here is a list of the major gun control groups lobbying in Washington and how much they have spent so far in 2017:

Let’s summarize.  We all know that money talks in Washington, D.C. and big money talks louder than small money.  It’s pretty clear from looking at both the campaign contributions and the amount spent by lobbyists which side of the gun debate has the most sway in Washington.  If we expect that any changes in America’s gun laws will be forthcoming in light of yet another mass shooting, I suspect that we’ll be waiting a long, long time.

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