Gun Control Legislation
Soonafter mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 24 peopledead, President Obama constituted a task force to present thegovernment with recommendation on how to initiate regulation on guncontrol and use to avert the wave of gun violence that had locked thenation for any years. Before the senate embarked to vote for thepassage of the bill, it was evident that more than 90% of theAmericans were behind the bills that sought to ‘’expand thebackground for checks for gun powers, ban assault weapons and banhigh-capacity gun magazines’’ (Weisman1). Surprisingly all the bills failed to get the 60 votes required,under an ‘’agreement between Republicans and democrats’’ Theproposal brought forward by Republicans on the ‘’expansion of thepermission to carry concealed weapon and to focus on law enforcementefforts on prosecuting gun crimes’’ (Sunlight Foundation 1) wasalso defeated.
Theprint and electronic media action was crucial is describing just howeasy it was in America to acquire a gun and shoot discriminately atinnocent civilians. The Bipartisan approach could not wield enoughpower to persuade senators from both parties to support regulation onguns. Evidently there were inherent issues that underminedcooperation (Barrett &Cohen 1).The gun lobby rights groups such as theNational Rifle Association had conducted massive campaigns aiming atinfluencing senators to vote against the gun control. It is estimatedthat the National Rifle Association spent over $500, 000 onadvertising to sway the public opinion in the favor and influencesenators to reject Obama proposals. Collective action problemsemanated from the influence of powerful lobby groups on senators fromboth parties. Politicians’ voting on bills is pegged on whetherthey view the bills as a primary and secondary policy regulation. Theissues that are supported by majority of the voters are considered asprimary issues (Bouton, Conconi, Pino and Zanardi 1). Theseare issues that the general public is passionate about and directlyaffect the life of all Americans. A good example is the issueregarding public expenditure. On the other hand, policy issues suchas gun control that enjoy the support of minority though majority ofthe voters are against them form the secondary issue. Senators would,therefore, be able to pander the small group of pro gun by opposinggun regulation, without losing much supports from the majority.
Inso far as the regulation of gun was concerned Congress encounteredcollection action tribulations. Collective action conundrum caused bythe motivation that senators have to be individually responsive atthe price of the collective responsibility (Bouton, Conconi,Pino and Zanardi 1). The authority and policy objectives ofindividual members of Congress are pegged on the capacity and abilityto get re-elected at the end of their term in office. Additionally,senator’s electoral fate is strongly pegged on the stance taken bythe party. Republicans have always maintained a hard stance of gunregulation over the years and understandably majority voted againstthe gun regulation bill in 2013. Majority of Senators from theDemocratic Party supported the bill, though a small number from thestate considered hostile against gun regulation opposed the bill. Theparty politics form the fundamental premise from which senators makedecisions affecting the social welfare of American citizens.
Mostnotably senators are likely to support gun control regulations if thenear the end of their term and as such their decision will have ahuge impact on their re-election bid. Politicians who are notconcerned about re-election are likely to vote against suchregulations. The collective action conundrum emanates from the factthat senators who were not keen of regaining their position opposedthe gun regulation while those that wanted to maintain a healthyrelationship with the voters supported the regulation (Bouton,Conconi, Pino and Zanardi 1).
Thepresident intensely lobbied for the passage of the regulation tocounteract gun violence that was prevalent in the nations. Evidentlysenate ignored the president’s proposition and rejected all thebills introduced that would have reduced guns in the public domain.The president being the head of state is expected to listen to thepublic opinion and trend meticulously on matters that affect the lifeof all Americans. Unlike senators who do not have to convince theentire state before they get elected, the president has cautiously toweigh the public opinion and determine what stands to benefitAmericans more the public opinion and determine what stands tobenefit Americans more. Senators were cautious as they feared thelobby groups would spend colossal sums of money to portray them asanti-second amendment (Gerney and Parsons 1). Majority of the senators fromthe republican and some of Democrats gave in to the pressure fromthese lobby groups. The voting pattern of Republicans remains thesame during their term, but democrats from less conservative’sstates had flip-flopped on the gun regulation. The president havingwon his second term in office, in the 2012 presidential election andwith no other chance of vying had nothing to spare or lose, bysupporting the gun regulation. Unmistakably a similar stance was heldby the senators who would be eligible for re-election. The prevailingattitude of avoiding guns has remained extraordinarily sturdy amongthe Democratic senators in the previous past. In the recent past,president Obama has made deliberate efforts to break this notion, andthrough the aid of vice president Biden and majority leader Reid andminority leader in lower House Pelosi democrats have made franticefforts to reduce gun violence through stringent gun regulationmeasures. Only four democratic senators voted against the gunbackground checks in 2013 reflecting the adoption of a similar stancesupported by the Democratic Party (Gerney and Parsons 1).
Americangun owners are powerful, well structured body that can only vote forthe politicians who show their support for the organization moveagainst the gun regulation. National Rifle Association together withits state partners offers enormous incentives to lure members whothey then influence to turn them against regulations that aim to guncontrol in the USA. Most notable the American system of politics, thedivision of powers and presence of multilayered systems, is tiltedtowards well organized bodies such as National Rifle Association eventhough only a small proportion of the voters support their views. Itis worth noting that the gun lobby groups wield immense politicalpower and their use it to prevent any regulation that may impactnegatively on their business (Barrett& Cohen 1). Apparently financial pressure frompowerful lobby groups such as the Gun owners and the National RifleAssociation can substantially influence the stance of a politicianespecially when the politicians hold an opposing view. Members of thesenate who receive huge sums of money from gun right lobbies are moreto be expected to take a pro gun position. Interest groups thatlobbied for the background gun checks were less successive primarilythey are perceived as toothless in swaying the opinion of the votersagainst the senators. The law Center to prevent gun violence, theMayors Against illegal guns and the Brandy campaign lacked resourcesto carry out massive campaign to convince the public that failure toadopt the background checks and dither related regulation would notaugur well for their political careers. The resources that lobbygroups against the gun regulation such as the National RifleAssociation enjoyed enabled them to influence senators (Gerneyand Parsons 1).
InApril 2013 senate rejected a bill meant to address the highprevalence of gun violence in the United States. It was anopportunity for members in the senate to adopt a collective action toeliminate the menace of gun murder that has locked the nation for fartoo long. The most important piece of gun regulation legislation wasstructured to expand background checks, and enjoyed over 90% supportfrom the voters. The intense campaign waged by pro gun lobby groupsin the country watered down the efforts of the President and themajority of the Democratic senators. In the end, the bills gotsupport from a majority of the senators but could not attain 60 votesthat is the threshold. The power and policy objectives of individualmembers of Congress are pegged on the capacity and ability to getre-elected at the end of their term in office. Additionally,senator’s electoral fate is strongly pegged on the stance taken bythe party. Republicans have always maintained a hard stance of gunregulation over the years and understandably majority voted againstthe gun regulation bill in 2013. Majority of Senators from theDemocratic Party supported the bill, though a small number fromstates considered hostile against gun regulation opposed the bill.The party politics form the fundamental premise from which senatorsmake decisions affecting the social welfare of American citizens, andit is so influential it even supersedes public opinion.
WorksCitedArkadiGerneyand ChelseaParsons.9Reasons Why Progress on Stronger Gun Laws Is Within Reach. Centre ofAmerican Progress,2013. Web. Retrieved from:http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/civil-liberties/report/2013/05/07/62540/9-reasons-why-progress-on-stronger-gun-laws-is-within-reach/JonathanWeisman.SenateBlocks Drive for Gun Control, 2013.Web. Retrieved from:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/us/politics/senate-obama-gun-control.html?pagewanted=allLaurentBouton, Pacia Conconi, Francisco, Pino and Zanardi Maurizio. TheU.S. Senate’s failure to pass gun control legislation is thevictory of an intense minority against an apatheticmajority.Retreivedfromhttp://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2013/12/12/the-u-s-senates-failure-to-pass-gun-control-legislation-is-the-victory-of-an-intense-minority-against-an-apathetic-majority/
SunlightFoundation. OpenCongress,2013. Web .Retrieved from:http://www.opencongress.org/bill/s649-113/votes
Ted Barrett and TomCohen, CNNSenate rejects expanded gun background checks.Retrieved fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/17/politics/senate-guns-vote/