With hundreds of thousands of Americans outraged by the plague of gun violence in our schools expected to march in Washington on Saturday – and even more planning demonstrations in cities across the country – Common Cause today released a practical guide for challenging the power of the gun lobby.
“Power Shift. How People Can Take On the NRA,” details how the National Rifle Association has exploited the demise of most restrictions on political spending and rallied a committed membership base to exert outsized influence over Congress and state legislatures across the country.
“Empowered by Citizens United, the NRA uses its outside spending – and the threat of outside spending – to write the rules and shut down debate about solutions to the gun violence crisis. That’s not how a democracy where voters come first is supposed to work,” said Stephen Spaulding, Common Cause’s chief of strategy and external affairs and a co-author of the report.
Though formidable, the NRA and its allies are far from invincible, the report asserts; the key to breaking the gun lobby’s hold on Congress and state legislatures lies in reforms that will enhance the political power of the overwhelming majority of Americans – including most gun owners – who favor sensible regulation of firearm ownership. The solutions outlined in the report include:
- Making voting more fair and accessible, including automatic voter registration for qualified citizens when they do business with state agencies, pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and early voting;
- Ending the undemocratic practice of gerrymandering to ensure that voters choose politicians to represent them, rather than the other way around;
- Changing the way we fund political campaigns in order to empower all Americans, not just the wealthy;
- Shining a light on secret spending in politics through enhanced disclosure of donors.
“Americans expect and deserve a voice in Washington and in elected government bodies across the nation. With common sense changes to the way we elect our representatives and fund their campaigns, we can amplify the voice of every citizen,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics