Five Things Every Elected Official Should Know About The NRA

One of the many losing candidates the NRA backed in 2012

President Obama hinted strongly last night that he would back legislation to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country, and several lawmakers are already planning to introduce gun regulations in order to reduce the likelihood that another horrific mass killing happens again. Whatever new gun rules they propose, however, the National Rifle Association is almost certain to oppose them. Here are five things every lawmaker in the country should bear in mind when they are deciding whether to be swayed by the NRA’s opposition:

1) The NRA’s Candidates Got Their Clocks Cleaned Last Month: The NRA Political Victory Fund spent a massive $16,554,803.07 seeking to elect its preferred candidates last November. They might have accomplished more by burning the money. Just 0.81 percent of these expenditures benefited a winning candidate.

2) An NRA Endorsement Is Virtually Useless: According to an analysis of all 1038 NRA endorsements in the 2004-2010 election cycles, the NRA’s endorsement swung the result in just four races — meaning that the chance that an NRA endorsement will be the factor that places a pro-gun candidate in the House is less than 0.4 percent. The analysis also determined that most candidates garner no boost whatsoever for an NRA endorsement, although “Republican challengers who get endorsed when they run against Democratic incumbents do about 2 percentage points better than similar candidates who don’t get the endorsement.”

3) Democrats Gain Nothing From Pandering To The NRA: One group that has nothing to gain from appeasing the NRA is Democrats. The 2004-2010 analysis mentioned above found that “Democratic incumbents who are endorsed by the NRA get no statistically significant advantage from being endorsed,” and a similar study of the 1994 and 1996 election cycles determined that an NRA endorsement “had almost no impact for Democrats who were endorsed, Republican incumbents who were endorsed, or any kind of candidate in 1996.”

4) Gun Ownership Is Steadily Declining: Lawmakers hoping to appeal to gun owners are reaching out to a steadily dwindling base. In 1977, 54 percent of American adults lived in a gun-owning household. By 2010, that figure declined to 32 percent:

5) Not Even NRA Members Believe All Gun Regulations Are Wrong: NRA members overwhelmingly support a wide range of reforms, including requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees, and mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their gun is stolen.