Behind Every Industry You Hate Is a Guy Who Doesn’t Want To Lose His Job

Anna Palmer reports on the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturing industry’s stepped-up lobbying in the wake of Sandy Hook:

Its friends in the gun manufacturing lobby are relying on union workers to make a more practical argument—that guns are about jobs.

Nearly 40 union workers for the Remington Arms Factory in New York, where the AR-15 Bushmaster rifle used in the Newtown shooting is manufactured, protested New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new gun law at the state capitol in Albany. They’re expected to make a similar case in Washington.

This will obviously make some kind of difference to elected officials whose districts directly contain gun factories. But my experience is that even the most stridently pro-union liberals don’t actually care about labor angles to policy disputes when they disagree with the union on the underlying issue. There was no cacophony of pro-labor intellectuals standing up for pink slime or the AT&T/T-Mobile merger or the Keystone XL pipeline or the United Mine Workers’ view of climate change. The prospects for stepped-up gun regulation are poor simply because Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives and they don’t want to make it harder for people to buy guns. The labor angle is cute, but it didn’t work in New York and shouldn’t cut much practical weight inside the Democratic Party coalition.