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America’s Gun Culture: Can It Change? Why Is The NRA So Powerful? What Does It All Mean For Canada?
February 8, 2013
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Well, no one said the fight for stronger gun control in America was going to be easy.

Although after the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, there was a sense things had to change.

President Barack Obama has already laid out his plans - calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and wider background checks on people who buy guns.

Now, Democrats in the House of Representatives have put forward a proposal - which is pretty much the same as Obama's.

But it's not clear if it will be put to a vote. Republicans in the House say they don't plan to table legislation until the Senate has acted.

Trouble is, the Senate might not pass gun control legislation. And so it goes.

Since the shooting in Connecticut, there's been more public support for tougher gun laws than ever before.

But of course, there are those who are against any new gun laws - arguing that it would violate their constitutional right to bear arms.

Leading that charge is the NRA (the National Rifle Association) - the most powerful gun rights organization in the world.

Today, we came across a few thought provoking pieces about the NRA and guns in America.

One is from USA Today entitled 'NRA actively worked to weaken gun law enforcement.' The paper reports...

"The National Rifle Association says proposals such as universal background checks for gun buyers won't work and the nation must enforce the laws it has. But lobbying records and interviews show the organization has worked steadily to weaken existing gun laws and the federal agency charged with enforcing them."

An allegation the NRA denies.


Also, the Washington Post has a report entitled 'Does the NRA really have more than 4.5 million members?'

The paper examines the NRA's claim that its membership has jumped by 12 per cent, signing up half a million new members in the past six months.

After crunching some numbers, the Post says...

"At this point, we are inclined to conclude that the NRA is overestimating the size of its membership when it claims more than 4.5 million members. Based on the available information, it does not appear credible for the number of members to have increased by 500,000 people in just six months. It actually appears possible that the membership rolls are below 4 million."

And there's a new poll, reported by TIME, which suggests 52% of Americans support stricter gun control laws. TIME also points out an interesting picture, saying...

"In American gun households, 52% support a ban on assault weapons and 91% support background checks for all gun buyers. Yet 62% of Americans in these gun households believe the NRA better reflects their views on guns than President Obama."

It closes by saying: "The majority of gun owners may agree with the President on what needs to be done, but they don't know it, choose not to trust him, or believe that he will take their guns away. Like a side mirror, gun owners should read the fine print: Obama's views are closer than they appear."

Tonight, by the way, the CBC's the fifth estate has an extensive look at America's gun culture, how the NRA has influenced the debate around guns, and why it refuses to compromise.

As well, Bob McKeown looks at what all the furor over guns in the U.S. means for Canadians, and what the consequences are in our streets?

Here's a preview.

You can watch the fifth estate tonight on CBC at 9 pm, 9:30 pm in Newfoundland and Labrador. There will also be a live web chat going on during the show.

Gun rights and gun control advocates will be taking your questions. You can log into the conversation at

Related stories

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New York To Pass Major New Gun Law; America's First Since The School Shooting In Newtown, Connecticut

YouTube Sensation & Self-Professed "Gun Nut" Found Shot To Death, "Surrounded By Several Guns"


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