The Politics of Gun Control Essay

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The Politics of Gun Control


In recent years, political discourse about gun control and the Second Amendment has become increasingly volatile. Gun lobbies such as the National Rifle Association are more organized and aggressive and their issue agenda has evolved as new and more powerful weapons and militia appear. On the other side of the debate, the critical wounding of James Brady gave gun control advocates a visible martyr with strong ties to Republican conservatives. In sum, gun control and the right to bear arms have become hotly disputed issues where political alignments are constantly shifting.
This paper will examine gun control legislation and look at factors that affect party cohesion on this specific issue. Paying
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Dingell won re-election, but other old-timers who voted for the bill did not, and the Democrats lost control of Congress. So when the latest gun-control bill came up in June, Dingell didn't take any chances. This time, instead of backing the president, he decided to join with Republicans and NRA lobbyists to author a compromise. After a week of emotional debate, Dingell's bill went down to defeat on both sides of the aisle, all but killing any chance for stricter gun laws this year.
The loss was crushing to anti-gun forces and the White House. In the wake of the Columbine massacre, polls show that more than 80 percent of Americans back stricter laws (Newsweek). In May of 1999, the Senate took advantage of the national mood to pass a tough law requiring safety locks on new handguns and a detailed background check on buyers at gun shows. But as they have so many times before, activists underestimated the ferocity and might of the NRA and its nearly 3 million members. (NRA.org).
The NRA unleashed thousands of callers to clog congressional switchboards while a dozen lobbyists worked the halls. The group's Web site featured a dubious article implying that Bill Clinton, like the Nazis, was trying to disarm the populace (NRA.org). In the end, the House passed H.R.1501, The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1999, a law allowing…

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