Less than one week after Russian national and purported lifetime NRA member Maria Butina pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the attorney general,” Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote “It’s the beginning of the end for the gun lobby’s power.” In his piece, Dionne asserts that “Taken together, the events of 2016 and the results of the 2018 election will be remembered as the beginning of the end of the gun lobby’s power.”
“Nonetheless, we are in a new and better world on guns, organizationally and electorally. This conclusion is compelled not by wishful thinking but by the evidence.
“As investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election continue, the NRA has had to answer for its relationship with Russian figures and a 2015 visit by the group’s leaders to Moscow.
“(A previous Post article) article also noted that, in 2018, the NRA’s political spending ‘plummeted.’ While the organization has denied wrongdoing in 2016, it is clearly in disarray and some suburban Republican candidates this year were fearful of cashing its checks.
“But the NRA’s troubles are only part of the story. What may matter more is that 2018’s voters changed the political calculus on the gun issue.
“There is much credit to go around for shifting the political terrain on guns. The activist students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School certainly deserve their share, as do established gun-control groups that stepped up their own engagement while also backing the Florida organizers and helping to link them to other young people around the country.
“The 2018 elections should be as empowering for those who want to end our nation’s shameful immobility in confronting mass shootings as the 1994 upheaval was for the gun lobby. There is much more work to do, but those who undertake it can know that they now have the wind at their backs.”