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The Real Reason America Doesn’t Have Gun Control

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The legislative dance of the same fate begins immediately with every mass shooting that now provides a tragic backbeat to American life. Disappointed gun control proponents, as the demands of indignation were inevitably upset in Congress, Embarrassed civilianPoint your finger at the influence of the National Rifle Association or the uncompromising opposition of Republicans in Congress. Both of these are legitimate factors, but the deadlock in gun control legislation since Bill Clinton’s first presidential term ultimately lies at a much more serious problem: the heightened crisis of majority voting in American politics. ..

According to polls, Americans do not believe that gun control solves all the problems associated with gun violence, but the majority are gun control advocates, including universal background checks and a ban on offensive weapons. Supports the core priorities of. But despite this overwhelming consensus, the slaughter of at least 19 schoolchildren and two adults yesterday in Yuvalde, Texas, or the emotional plea of ​​President Joe Biden last night leads to legislative action. There is little possibility.

This is because gun control is one of many issues where the national majority hits the brick wall of the Senate rules. Filibuster provides a small number of states with the right to veto national policy. Overwhelmingly white, Republican-dominated.

The imbalanced effects of small countries have shaped the competition for American power. The Democratic Party has won the popularity vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. This is something that political parties have never done since the formation of the modern party system in 1828. Election college while losing popularity vote. Senate imbalances are even more pronounced. Senate Republicans have made up the majority of the US population for just two years since 1980, according to calculations by Lee Dratman, a senior fellow in the New American political reform program, a think tank in the center left. The state’s population to each of its senators. However, because it mainly controls small states, the Republicans have dominated the majority of the Senate for 22 out of 42 years.

The practical effects of these imbalances were dramatized by the final full-scale Senate debate on gun control. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in 2013 the Senate voted for measures supported by President Barack Obama to impose a background check on the sale of all guns. Again, half of each state’s population was assigned to each of its senators, and 54 senators who supported the bill (and Harry Reid, a senator majority leader who opposed it only for procedural reasons). Representing 194 million Americans.. The remaining senators who opposed the bill represented 118 million. However, 118 million have won because of the Senate’s filibuster rules, which require the support of 60 Senators to move legislation to vote.

The results will not change today. Last year, the House of Representatives passed a law to expand and strengthen background checks. But that too was thwarted in the Senate by a Republican filibuster.

Its impassable opposition reflects the Republican’s reliance on voters and where they are most devoted to gun culture. Last year’s polling by Pew Research Center The proportion of Republicans living in homes with guns (54%) far exceeds the proportion of Democrats with guns (31%). (Overall, Pew found that four in ten adults lived in a house with a gun, and only three in ten had a gun.) Rand Corporation Survey in 2020 The 20 states with the highest gun ownership elect almost two-thirds (32 out of 50) Republicans in the Senate, about one-third of the states held by President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. It turned out that it constitutes 2 (17 out of 25 people). ). The 20 states, which are almost mirror images and have the lowest gun ownership, elected almost two-thirds of the Senate Democrats (32 out of 50), about the state Biden won (16 out of 25). It occupied two-thirds. The 20 states with the lowest gun ownership have more than 2.5 times more residents (about 192 million) than the states with the highest gun ownership (about 69 million). But in the Senate, these two state sets have the same weight.

In opposition to gun control, Congressional Republicans clearly prioritize the sentiment of their party’s gun owners over any other perspective, even that of other Republican voters. Pew polling We found that the majority of Americans upheld a background check (81%), a ban on offensive weapons (63%), and a ban on large magazines (64%). The majority also opposes the carrying of hidden weapons without permission. The majority of Republicans who do not own guns, as well as democratic gun owners, shared their views with a more biased margin. Even most Republicans who own guns voted to support background checks and oppose unauthorized hidden carrying ().Approved by more red states, including Texas). Despite all this, Republican elected civil servants succumb to groups like the NRA in that they almost oppose gun control and see almost all restrictions as a sign of disrespect for Red American values. bottom.

Although the NRA is institutionally weakened, its influence within the Republican Party is being expanded by the restructuring of American politics along geographical lines. When Congress created a national background check system through the Brady bill during Clinton’s first term and later approved a ban on offensive weapons (which subsequently expired), a significant number of local members were represented. Parliamentary Democrats opposed the legislation. Republicans with great supporters in the suburbs supported it. However, after 30 years of electoral reclassification, both of these groups have shrunk significantly. As a result, when the House passed the background check bill in 2021, only eight Republicans were in favor and only one Democrat was against it.

The prejudice of the Senate’s small nations is hampering legislative action on other issues that Americans widely agree on, such as climate change, abortion, and immigration.As with gun control, polls have consistently shown that it is endorsed by the majority of Americans. Dealing with climate change, Against capsizing Roe v. WadeWhen Regain comprehensive immigration reformIncludes providing legal status to undocumented migrants, especially young people brought to the country by their parents. The House of Representatives has passed a bill that reflects each of these perspectives. The Senate’s omissions on these issues again reflect the significant impact of the states with the highest gun ownership. also, A high proportion of white Christians are culturally conservative, involved in the fossil fuel economy, and a low proportion of immigrants.

If there is hope for Congressional action on gun control in the aftermath of the Yuvalde tragedy, or another mass shooting in the future, it will almost certainly require reform or elimination of filibuster. Otherwise, the basic rules of American politics will continue to allow Republicans to impose their priorities, even if apparently the majority of Americans disagree. The difficult truth is that there is no way to counter the accelerating American epidemic of gun violence without first addressing the systematic erosion of the majority vote.

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