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I have always thought that a big reason the NRA and gun lobbyists are so powerful is because people are actually scared of them in a very direct and primal way. They are, precisely, "gun nuts." These are the types who want to walk into a Starbucks with automatic rifles. The types who want us to see with our own eyes that they could kill us in an instant. What else do they have on their side beside the "absolute master" (death)?

The power of gun activists is certainly not economic. The gun industry is nothing like the car industry. It generates only $30 billion a year, and so could disappear from the economy with the blink of an eye. Gun activists don't even have significant political power, as most Americans do want meaningful gun regulations. Also, most Americans are not ignorant of the direct connection between mass murders and gun accessibility. And yet nothing is being done about the situation. How is that possible? It must come down to the public's raw fear of people with guns. Right Wing Watch:

Prominent gun lobbyist Larry Pratt is doubling down on his insistence that members of Congress should have a “healthy fear” of being shot, lecturing a congresswoman who felt threatened by one of his group’s members that she just doesn’t understand the Constitution.
The comments by Pratt are, like the people who carry weapons in public, not meant to make us feel safe and protected from dictators or mass murderers. They are directed at us. Pratt and his kind want us to fear death.
“Well, that’s probably a healthy fear for them to have,” Pratt said. “You know, I’m kind of glad that’s in the back of their minds. Hopefully they’ll behave.”