John Oliver explained on Sunday why the National Rifle Association is consistently able to prevent any votes in favor of more gun control legislation.
Oliver began the “Last Week Tonight” segment by saying that despite the upcoming vote on some gun control measures in the House and Senate, any real change is unlikely.
“And there is clearly a disconnect between public opinion, which favors to varying degrees a number of different gun control measures, and any practical action in Washington,” he said. “And it is pretty clear what is standing between those two things: and it’s the National Rifle Association. Like PETA, but for guns and effective.”
Oliver also reminded viewers of the Dickey amendment passed in 1996, which forbid the Center for Disease Control from doing any real research on gun control and gun violence. Since that amendment was passed, funding for CDC studies on guns have dropped by 96 percent.
“The hard truth is, NRA members seem to care more consistently about preventing gun control than most of us do about passing it,” he said. “Because while you might be focused on gun control now, they were focused on it two weeks before Orlando, and they’ll still be focused on it two weeks from now.”
For example, while the NRA has less members and spends less money than some other lobbying groups, their member base is highly motivated. The NRA also provides them with very specific alerts any time a gun control measure is being debated in any Congressional committee.
Oliver closed the segment by calling on his viewers to repeatedly petition their representatives about at least repealing the Dickey amendment.
“Repealing it is not asking much. It’s not gun control. It’s enabling us to have an informed conversation about what that could look like,” he said. “And if or 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. Planet Fitness members outnumber them. But it is time for us to learn what those members haven’t: if you’re going to see serious changes, you actually have to show up every f—ing day.”