Gun Rights, Gun Control and Spending in Washington

It has been some time since I updated my posting on spending in Washington by both pro- and anti-gun interest groups in the United States so here is an update using data from Open Secrets.org.

As I have noted in the past, there is a long history of inability by the federal government to do anything about firearms in the United States.  In this posting, I want 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 $34.2 million to both the Republicans and Democrats.  That works out to an average of $2.63 million per election cycle over the 13 election cycles from 1990 to 2014.  As you can see, over the 13 election cycles, the Republicans have been the beneficiary of most of the funds, receiving just over $29.6 million or 86.5 percent of the total compared to only $4.04 million or 13.5 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 table:
 
 
 

Now let's look at Washington's other favourite pastime, lobbying.  The gun rights groups have also been rather busy lobbying in Washington as shown on this bar graph:
 
 
 
 

In 2014, the gun rights lobby has spent $12.013 million on getting Congress and the Senate to see things their way.  As well, in 2013, there was a new lobbying spending record by the gun rights lobby, exceeding $15.2 million.
 
Here are the most active clients of the 47 gun rights lobbyists thus far in 2014:
 
 
As I noted above, in 2014, gun rights clients have spent just over $12 million on lobbying.  As shown here, you can see a substantial difference in the funds spent on lobbying by the gun control clients:
 
 
 
 
In 2014, gun control clients have only spent $1.942 million on lobbying, just over 16 percent of the total spent by gun rights clients.  As well, you can quickly see that between 2005 and 2012, 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 the well-heeled gun rights political machine operating in Washington, make it somewhat less surprising 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.

Click HERE to read more of Glen Asher's columns

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