Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Who's Afraid of Those NRA Checks?

Yesterday morning, we were wondering how far gun safety reform can go in Carson City. Today, we're being reminded of why this won't be easy. Note who's been playing in #NVLeg races since 2010.

The National Rifle Association spread around five figures to Nevada legislative candidates in 2010 and 2012, including to key Carson City players.

The NRA has given to about a third of the current crop and in a bipartisan fashion. The contributions, while not overwhelming, indicate that the gun lobby is interested in squelching legislation in Carson City. Its biggest contribution, not surprisingly, was to ex-state Sen. John Lee, who proposed that campus carry bill now being pushed by newly elected Assemblywoman Michele Fiore. It's worth keeping these donations in mind as lawmakers consider laws related to guns in 2013.

In looking at the NRA's contribution history, it becomes obvious that the NRA was almost as invested in a more Republican controlled Legislature as the rest of Tea Party, Inc. It gave to Michael Roberson and Don Gustavson in 2010, and to Mark Hutchison, Greg Brower, Steve Kirk, and Mari St. Martin in 2012. It also gave to several Republican Assembly candidates in both cycles.

Yet unlike the rest of Tea Party, Inc., the NRA has been much savvier in currying some bipartisan favor. Most notably, it gave $2,500 to John Lee earlier this year. However, the NRA has also given to Democrats David Parks, Debbie Smith, Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Eliot Anderson, Olivia Diaz, and others. Yikes.

This is why Senator Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) will have such an uphill battle in pursuing better gun safety standards. With so many Republicans AND Democrats so close to the NRA, will this get a fair shot?

Maybe. It especially might if a few "angry liberals" succeed in shaming the above mentioned Democrats who have accepted campaign contributions from the NRA in the past. Hey, if it seems to be working at the federal level, why can't progressives try shifting "The Overton Window" on gun safety here in Nevada?

Again, it won't be easy. And today, we're seeing even more reasons why. However, something has to change. And people have to start making noise in order to make the change possible. At least it now looks like a few brave souls have started making noise.

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