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Explore Econ: Christel Najm

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

“Lobbyists have more offices in Washington than the President. You see, the President only tells Congress what they should do. Lobbyists tell’em what they will do.” The National Rifle Association, established in 1871, is one of the most powerful lobby groups in our present time. As its name implies, it’s an association that aims on keeping all guns and firearms legal in the United States. The NRA has manipulated people in power to preserve gun rights and increase the arms market’s share in the US economy. We will see how this group has managed to impact the economy and its agents without lifting a finger, as it relies solely on power and funding to do so.

The NRA has managed to be omnipresent in political decision-making through Congress members and people in power in the White House. They play a huge role in electing the people in charge and influencing their decisions.

Through the course of the last century, the NRA campaigned fiercely against Democrats and supported Republicans to the last breath; past presidential elections are living examples. In the following graph this claim is evident. For example, almost $20 million US dollars were spent in opposition to Hillary Clinton.

Unfortunately, civilians are the ones bearing the costs of the increase in guns’ market power. Incidents have become more and more likely to occur, and massive shootings have multiplied in recent years. According to the NSSF, the guns market boosted the economy by $49.3bn in 2016, hence generating $6.2bn in taxes for the government to profit off. Moreover, Statista estimated an induced economic impact of $15.5bn, generated from the guns industry in the US in 2017.

One might wonder, what does the NRA have to do with the economy and, in that case, who would the economic agents be? Simply, the funded politicians and members of the NRA are themselves the dominant economic agents, as they are the ones advocating for gun rights and supporting gun industries through additional funding. The public, easily persuaded by their representatives, have been convinced that guns do protect them and that they are a natural right. Gradually, the market equilibrium would shift right with demand increasing. With the number of guns sold, one cannot deny the impact of this lobby group on the economy as a whole. These revenues enrich the economy and place the Republicans in a position of power. At this point, any policy aiming for stricter gun control would be extremely tough to implement, following the unwillingness of people to give up their sacred right, so strongly protected by the Second Amendment.

In addition, the money that the NRA spends lobbying is (by itself) shockingly immense. Throughout the past few years, the association has spent roughly $10m to maintain favourable gun policies, not to mention the additional amount it spent in order to support politicians who agree with what the association stands for.

In a nutshell, the NRA has affected the economy through its contagious support of the use of weapons by civilians in the US; however more data showing the correlation between the number of guns sold and the NRA is needed to affirm that it is strongly affecting the arms market and the American economy.

Christel Najm


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