Even as Joe Biden says that President Obama is weighing executive orders to curb gun violence and New York governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for a fresh assault weapons ban, the NRA says they’ve seen their membership numbers soar after Newtown, indicating—surprise, surprise—a politically polarized America.
NRA spokesman Mike Allen told Politico today they added 100,000 after Newtown, jumping from 4.1 to 4.2 million in the wake of the tragedy. He apparently sees the entire conversation around guns stemming from Newtown as highly advantageous to the NRA: “Our goal is to get to 5 million before this debate is over,” he said.
Gun violence seems to have eclipsed taxes and even abortion rights as the definitive polarizing issue of the day. Incidents such as Aurora and especially Newtown tend to have dual effect, pushing many fervently into the anti-gun camp while others arm themselves to the hilt, as evidenced by new gun purchases and applications after Aurora and Newtown.
Which is probably why Obama is considering an executive order. With an issue this polarizing passing legislation is probably unlikely.
“The NRA is hearing not just from Beltway elites and the chattering class, but real Americans all over the country that are hoping the NRA is not going to compromise on any of the principles of the Second Amendment,” said Allen, “nor are we going to support banning guns.”
“But,” he said, “we’re willing to listen. …We are willing to talk to policymakers about any reasonable proposals and plans.”