The expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004 is directly related to the shooting of the 26 students and teachers in Newtown CT with an AR 15 semi automatic assault rifle.
The reason why there has been no legislation to ban assault weapons during the Obama administration , despite a string of mass shootings, is likely due to the chilling effect of outside spending on political campaigns by the NRA. This is the direct result of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
According to Opensecrets.org, in 2012 the majority of money spent by the NRA was on outside spending campaigns for or against politicians. In 2012 the NRA spent $19 million in outside spending campaigns for or against political candidates, while $1 million was spent in direct contributions to political candidates.
This included outside spending of $11 million against Democratic candidiates, $2 million for democratic candidates, $6 million for Republican candidates, and $500,000 against republican candidates.
The list of candidates the NRA engaged in outside spending campaigns AGAINST in 2012 included: Barack Obama $8 million, Sherrod Brown $700,00, Tim Kaine $500,000, Bill Nelson $400,000, Claire Mccaskill $300,000, Tammy Baldwin $300,000, Richard Lugar $200,000.
Even though most of the democrats the NRA spent outside money opposing won, and a majority of the republicans the NRA spent money for lost, the outside spending was highly effective.
Democrats and Republicans alike clearly understand that those who would introduce legislation the NRA finds objectionable will face a massive outside spending campaign to unseat them.
As a result of Citizens United, corporations such as gun manufacturers and interest groups such as the NRA can engage in unrestricted outside spending campaigns against politicians, allowing them to wield outsized influence in Congress and obstruct legislation.
These corporations and interest groups can now engage in political extortion simply by having the ability to wage outside spending campaigns against politicians who would enact legislation they perceive to be unfavorable.
Citizens United has enabled these entities to hold law makers hostage, which is why we have no meaningful gun legislation, no meaningful banking reform and no meaningful health care reform.
Law makers are averse to introducing legislation which might offend corporations .This is the lesson learned from the defeat of Richard Lugar and is likely the reason why the assault weapons ban being proposed by Diane Feinstein has 900 exceptions in it.
Thanks to Citizens United, the NRA, which represents gun manufacturers, dictates national gun policy, health insurers dictate health policy and wall street dictates banking policy.
Citizens United has shifted the balance of power between business and government, undermining the ability of Congress to legislate. This is the culmination of a deliberate 40 year effort to undermine effective government by conservatives, including the Supreme Court.
The NRA is little more than an astro turf group for gun manufacturers , who use the second amendment as an excuse to obstruct any legislation which might interfere with the lucrative profits obtained from the sale of semi automatic assault weapons.
We now have 26 dead students and seven teachers because no legislation was passed to ban assault weapons following prior mass shootings during Obama’s first term. This is likely the result of the NRA’s ability to engage in outside spending , thanks to Citizens United.
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