America wants gun control, so why don’t we have it?

Big money is to blame for lack of new gun control laws and regulations


Written By Matt Petras

It’s not often you see a stadium full of people on cable television applaud someone insisting a politician refuse donations from a powerful political group in America. That, however, is exactly what happened during a recent CNN town hall following the Parkland High School shooting.

While the push for reasonable gun control legislation is an uphill battle, the survivors of the shooting are doing a great job in illuminating what I’d say is the biggest issue behind the vicious trend of gun violence in America. The fact of the matter is the influence of money is the most substantial political issue facing America, and examining the lack of government action despite the trend of gun violence is perhaps that fact’s most obvious consequence.

Almost every American wants universal background checks, for example, and that isn’t just a platitude – it’s a fact. “Support for universal background checks is itself almost universal,” according to Feb. 20 Quinnipiac polling. “97-2 percent, including 97-3 percent among gun owners.” Additionally, 83-14 percent support mandatory waiting periods for gun purchases and 67-29 percent favor a ban on selling assault weapons, according to the polling.

When considering 67 percent, it isn’t an overwhelming majority, but 83 is, and 97 most assuredly is. So, if the American people want these policies, why don’t we get them? The answer is simple – money. The gun industry doesn’t want fewer guns in the country, it wants more, because that means more money.

In America, the agenda of the wealthiest groups and individuals has substantially more of an impact than that of ordinary people. A joint 2014 study by Princeton and Cambridge Universities beared this out empirically by analyzing perspectives on political issues from various groups and individuals, including regular folks and special interest groups with lots of money behind them.

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy,” according to the study. “Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”

Bernie Sanders, now one of the most prominent and influential congressmen  in the country, is the one politician who can be relied on to point out the wealthy few have such great power over the rest of us – the Vermont senator can often be heard calling the American government an oligarchy, steered by a wealthy few rather than the masses.

Unfortunately, while Sanders has consistently supported some good gun control measures, such as a ban on the sale of assault rifles, he disappoints in taking on the gun industry as viciously as he takes on, say, the fossil fuel and pharmaceutical industries.

He never discusses guns with the same ferocity and frequency as he does with issues like health care and climate change. For the most part, Sanders brings up guns when forced to defend murky votes and stances he’s taken over the years on issues like gun manufacturer liability.

These high schoolers who survived the Parkland shooting, then, are the most cogent voices of both sense and righteous outrage on the gun issue in the mainstream public sphere.

Perhaps the best take was from high school student Sarah Chadwick, one of the survivors of the Parkland shooting who wrote the following in a viral tweet: “We should change the names of AR-15s to ‘Marco Rubio’ because they are so easy to buy.”