Here at Right Wing Watch, we’ve been closely following the right-wing freak-out over President Obama’s proposed gun violence prevention reforms. The president’s proposals, which include requiring background checks on all gun sales and restricting access to certain assault weapons aren’t exactly radical -- about three-quarters of Americans support them. But right-wing politicians and organizations are going off the rails in opposition, claiming that the president wants to set up gulags and gas chambers in order to bring about the “complete destruction of Western civilization”; that he is preparing the military to “fire on American citizens” and kill hundreds of thousands; that he using Obamacare to collect information on gun owners; and he is instigating a race war pitting “Christian, heterosexual white haves” against “black Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots.”
Stunningly, this small, extreme faction has for many years succeeded at defeating gun violence prevention efforts at the federal level. A new report from Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery takes a closer look at the activists and groups who are holding up federal gun violence reform, how they have succeeded, and how they can be defeated. Peter writes:
While the White House, governors, Congress and other public officials grapple with policy responses to last month’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, many Americans wonder whether the massacre of young children will provide momentum for more effective laws that previous killing sprees – even one that gravely wounded a member of Congress – have not.
Some assume, wrongly, that nothing can be done. Politicians’ fear of the $200+ million National Rifle Association (NRA) is generally cited as the reason for weak gun laws that undermine law enforcement and put citizens at higher risk from gun crimes. The power of the NRA to determine the outcome of elections may well be more myth than reality, but even the perception of such power can give the group tremendous political muscle, along with its aggressive lobbying and strong-arm political tactics.
The NRA is not alone in attempting to prevent effective regulation of guns and promoting reckless policies that leave Americans vulnerable to crime. Its efforts are supported by the same kind of coalition that undermines the nation’s ability to solve a wide range of problems. Corporations, right-wing ideologues, and Religious Right leaders work together to misinform Americans, generate unfounded fears, and prevent passage of broadly supported solutions.
Understanding the extremism and dishonesty at the heart of right-wing obstructionism is crucial to overcoming it.