“The NRA is the most powerful force in American politics.”
The NRA is stuck in a cycle of scandals and lawsuits. It even attempted to file for bankruptcy in 2021, a decision a federal judge – who threw out the case – found was motivated “to gain an unfair litigation advantage” and to “avoid a state regulatory” action.“1Court Dismisses NRA Bankruptcy Case,” NRA Watch, May 11, 2021. https://nrawatch.org/filing/court-dismisses-nra-bankruptcy-case/. While the NRA remains a potent force, the gun safety movement has been growing as a real counterweight in American culture and politics. In 2020, the NRA lost the three races where it invested the most money: the presidency and the two Senate seats in Georgia, cementing its complete loss of the presidency, Senate, and House in just a few years. Even when NRA-supported candidates had control in Washington in 2017 and 2018, they organization failed to pass any of its federal priorities like concealed carry reciprocity and degregulating silencers. In 2021, the NRA’s brand was so toxic that in its own backyard of Virginia, the NRA stayed out of the gubernatorial race, with the leading Republican candidate refusing to fill out their endorsement questionnaire.2Daniel Marans, “Glenn Youngkin Distanced Himself from the NRA. It Probably Helped Him Win,” Huffington Post, November 15, 2021, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/glenn-youngkin-virginia-governor-nra-endorsement_n_61928350e4b05e93cbb34dda?ny . And the NRA continues to lose as the Biden-Harris administration takes crucial executive actions on gun safety, including action of ghost guns and cracking down on gun trafficking.3White House, “FACT SHEET: Highlights from the Biden Administration’s Historic Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence,” December 14, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/12/14/fact-sheet-highlights-from-the-biden-administrations-historic-efforts-to-reduce-gun-violence/.
The gun violence prevention movement is both growing and winning at the state level as well. There have been significant wins across the country, from Maryland to New Mexico, on gun safety legislation as well as defeats for NRA priorities in Oklahoma, Indiana, and more.4“States Lead the Way on Gun Safety in 2021,” Everytown for Gun Safety Press Release, August 3, 2021, https://www.everytown.org/press/states-lead-the-way-on-gun-safety-in-2021-passing-over-30-gun-safety-laws-rejecting-dozens-of-extreme-gun-lobby-bills-approving-a-record-over-250-million-for-gun-violence-prevention/ And Everytown marked a new milestone of crossing eight million supporters as a part of this movement. While it takes years to dismantle the power the NRA has built, the bottom line is that the gun safety movement is still winning and on an upward trajectory, while the gun lobby is headed in the opposite direction.