How powerful is the 'gun lobby?'

In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting that claimed 14 lives earlier this week, some have rushed to blame the National Rifle Association and the ambiguous "gun lobby" for stripping away laws that might have kept firearms out of the suspects' hands.

Setting aside the details of the shooting investigation, which now point to an act of radical Islamic terrorism, an examination of the NRA's actual lobbying and political contributions reveals it is a relatively light spender compared to other corporations, interest groups and industries.

For example, the NRA spent roughly half of what the dairy industry spent last year on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"Just what will it take for Congress to overcome the intimidation of the gun lobby and do something as sensible as making sure people on the terrorist watch list can't buy weapons?" Hillary Clinton said Thursday at a campaign event in New Hampshire, joining a chorus of Democrats who called for aggressive gun control measures immediately after the shooting Wednesday.

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