The Politics and Profits of Gun Violence -- Follow the Money

A convention goer examines weapons in the exhibit hall at the143rd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Indiana Convention
A convention goer examines weapons in the exhibit hall at the143rd NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Everyone in business knows there's good money and bad money. A fair interest rate and a patient investor is far better than a usury rate and a short term loan with a big balloon payment. Unfortunately in politics, where most elected officials "have a price" for their votes and self-preservation in office, all money is "good money" for a majority in Congress and legislators in most State Houses, even when innocent lives are at stake from preventable gun violence.

Since 1968, over 1.4 million Americans have died from guns in the United States. That's more Americans killed by guns than all U.S. service men and women killed in all foreign wars combined. Just since December 14, 2012, when 20 innocent first graders and their caregivers were massacred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, over 43,000 more Americans have died from gun violence in the United States.

Today and everyday 83 more Americans will die from guns, 2,500 people killed every month. A Sandy Hook classroom of kids emptied by gun violence every 3 days and every 30 minutes a child or teen is shot or killed with a firearm in the U.S.

Random mass shootings have become the new normal. Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, DC Navy Yard, Columbine and Ft. Hood (twice), are just a few of the many high profile massacres that even school children can recite. Frankly, we are no longer safe from gun violence in our elementary, middle or high schools, universities, houses of worship, shopping malls, workplaces or even military bases.

It's shameful, preventable and yet all too predictable. Just follow the money.

Sad and pathetic as it is, we have come to accept that many members of Congress and state legislatures are literally for sale to the highest special interest bidder. A majority in the U.S. House and Senate even have a price for deregulating and giving absolute immunity from lawsuits to the inherently dangerous gun industry. A majority in Congress have virtually traded unlimited gun industry campaign contributions in exchange for ignoring the cause and effect of their irresponsible lax gun policies and deadly results -- more than 30,000 Americans killed every year from gun violence .

The gun industry and their NRA henchmen are now largely controlled by cut-throat Wall St. private equity firm managers like Stephen Feinberg of Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus owns Bushmaster (Sandy Hook and DC Sniper weapon), Remington (DC Navy Yard weapon) and over 20 percent of the entire firearm and ammunition industry. They also own Osco Drug Stores and Shaw's, Star and Albertson's supermarkets.

Cerberus and their ilk in the gun industry don't even need paid lobbyists, they simply fund the extreme NRA to do their dirty work. Although there is no transparency, under the NRA's Corporate Partners Program alone the gun industry gave somewhere between $19.3 million and $60.2 million since 2005.

In exchange for gun industry campaign contributions, a majority of Republicans in Congress have been purchased and enough Democrats have been bought or at least intimated into submission, they won't even vote in favor of a federal law requiring a criminal background check for all gun sales. As a result, in 33 states and at thousands of gun shows, flea markets and street corners, criminals, the mentally ill and even members of gangs and international terrorist groups, can legally buy an unlimited number of firearms without a background check or detection by law enforcement.

Even worse, Congress has further placated the gun industry by making law enforcement the enemy of gun rights. Congress restricts enforcement for all "private gun sales" and allows criminals to legally purchase weapons with far more fire power and ammunition without detection than law enforcement are issued.

Follow the money; more campaign contributions "invested" by the gun industry for less gun regulations. More unrestricted access to guns, more random gun violence, especially high profile mass shootings that result in more fear, more gun sales and more profits for the unregulated gun industry. More gun industry profits, more money to the gun lobby and contributions to their "supporters" in Congress and State Houses.

It's a deadly and profitable cycle and sadly it's unlikely to change until one or more mass shootings, far worse than the 26 killed at Sandy Hook or 70 shot at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, inevitably occurs in any town USA. Maybe then a majority in Congress will find their backbone or the majority of Americans will finally begin to hold their elected officials responsible.