Here's Why Gun Control Keeps Failing: Charting Influence vs. Stamina

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Newtown massacreIt has been little more than a month since the Newtown massacre claimed 26 lives, yet the frenzied gun regulation push that it inspired already seems to be receding. It's a pattern that should be familiar from the days after the Virginia Tech massacre, the Aurora shooting, the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, or any of the other notorious shootings of the last 10 years: A horrifying tragedy catches the public's attention, a frightened populace calls for a few common-sense gun restrictions, a Congress anesthetized by gun lobby dollars lets any proposed legislation die in committee, and the news media moves on. A few days, or weeks, or months later, there's another high-profile shooting victim, or another massacre happens, and the whole process begins anew.

(While President Obama's new executive orders are a slightly different twist in the dance of gun deaths, the sad truth is that any lasting change will need the cooperation of Congress. And, with even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid courting the gun lobby, that cooperation seems unlikely to occur.)

Not long after the Newtown massacre, I looked at some of the numbers of the gun debate -- most notably, the $4 billion in annual gun sales and the $19 million that the NRA poured into the 2012 election cycle. Recently, Appinions, an influence marketing company, released an infographic that helps explain the mechanics of the gun debate -- most notably, how the intense focus and never-ending devotion of the pro-gun lobby consistently trump the diffuse, short-lived efforts of gun control advocates.

(Those "NIS" score each individual is ranked with in the graphic below is their Net Influence Score -- a measure devised by Appinions to reflect a person's influence on a given topic. Appinions measures opinions from nearly 5 million sources to calculate those scores.)

Take a peek:

Gun graphic

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.
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