That last piece may be the most critical to the possibility of an actual “big” deal on guns in Congress. The simple fact – and many gun control advocates will blanch at hearing it — is that the NRA has the muscle to make or break (or come damn close) any major piece of gun legislation.
Why? The disparity between what the NRA spends on political activities — lobbying and campaigns — and what the best-funded gun-control advocacy group (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) spends is absolutely massive.
What the above charts make clear is that this isn’t even a lopsided fight between the NRA and Brady. It’s a walkover. From a politician’s perspective, voting for gun control measures that the NRA opposes has real world implications (and not good ones) while voting against the wishes of the gun control crowd is absolutely penalty-free.
That reality means that finding a way to bring the NRA in on whatever reforms are being proposed may be the key to ensuring some legislative fix — or attempted fix — to curb gun violence can make it through Congress. If the NRA stands in opposition, the path to passage gets significantly more difficult.