John Oliver's NRA Gun Control Argument Explains The One Easy Way You Can Get Involved
In the June 19 episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver's NRA gun control argument explained the one easy way you can get involved with the fight for gun reform. After his previous segment on the Orlando mass shooting, Oliver took the opportunity to criticize why lawmakers have been so slow to pass gun control bills. His solution? We all need to call our lawmakers repeatedly until we get an answer.
"I would usually say call your senator or representative and tell them you want to repeal the Dickey amendment," Oliver says. Then he clarifies that if we really want to see changes happen, we need to do a lot more:
You're going to need to call them again and remind them to repeal it. Then call them on their birthday and say, "Happy birthday! And also get rid of the Dickey amendment." Call them on Arbor Day and say, "Happy Arbor Day, whatever that is. By the way, what's going on with that Dickey amendment?" Call them on days when there wasn't a mass shooting — and I know those days are getting fewer and farther between — but say, "Hey, it's me again, what the f*ck's up with the Dickey amendment?"
And the reason we have to do a lot more, Oliver argues, is because the NRA never stops working to prevent gun control.
In 1996, the Dickey Amendment blocked the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from receiving funding to be used for gun violence research. It was introduced by former Arkansas Republican Rep. Jay Dickey, who Oliver points out was a loyal NRA member. Because of this, Oliver shows how the Dickey Amendment, and the NRA, are basically in control of even the discussions surrounding gun control reform: "It's not about gun control. It's enabling us to have an informed opinion about what that could look like."
So if you want to see legitimate changes being made in Washington to address the issue of gun control, Oliver argues that you need to call, and call, and call again until you start getting answers from these lawmakers. The slow movement of these bills and the continuation of the Dickey amendment's provisions are evidence of "the chokehold the NRA has over even basic gun data," Oliver says, "but the hard truth is NRA members seem to care more consistently about preventing gun control than most of us do about passing it."
The NRA, Oliver says, is "like PETA, but for guns, and effective." In addition to severely limiting the CDC funding for gun violence research, the NRA has also extended their control over the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF). The NRA successfully lobbied to prevent the ATF from having a database that is electronically searchable by name when searching for the origin of firearms. This keeps vital information away from the public and under the NRA's control, which makes it even more difficult to have conversations about what repealing the Dickey Amendment could even mean for the U.S.
Oliver makes a final plea to his viewers, highlighting the importance of reaching out to congressman by calling them, not just on social media:
And if and when a proposal you like is on the table, you're going to have to make all those calls again. Because, remember, it doesn't take much to outnumber the NRA ... [But] if you want to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every f*cking day.
So if you're interested in fighting for stricter gun control laws and you'll listen to Oliver's advice, all you have to do is keep showing up and keep fighting every day, because we know the NRA won't stop fighting for their cause any time soon.