How many lives must be lost before Congress shouts down the NRA?
On Wednesday, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, took aim at the Republican Congress; not with words, but with a gun. When the early morning rampage at a baseball field in the otherwise quiet suburb of Alexandria, Virginia was over, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional aide, a lobbyist, and a Capitol Police officer had all been shot.
Although lawmakers on the Hill have been mostly mum on the gun control debate, it is difficult to ignore a fundamental question; would it have happened if America had stricter gun control laws?
In multiple interviews, several Democratic lawmakers urged that no, today was not the day to revive the dormant gun control debate. It was too soon, it hit too close to home — and lawmakers simply didn’t want to stand accused of politicizing a shooting that injured a colleague and friend.
However, the problem is not really the debate, but the powerful NRA lobby behind it.
As NBC News pointed out in the wake of last year’s Orlando nightclub massacre, the NRA exerts its power over lawmakers with campaign contributions and their own advertising and propaganda campaigns that use fear-mongering and baseless claims that the Second Amendment is under threat.
The truth of the matter is that the NRA makes money by promoting gun ownership; and they need Congress to help them water-down laws so more people can own guns. The fact that guns are deadly weapons that can be abused in the wrong hands is irrelevant to their business model.
As each successive mass shooting raises the stakes in the gun control debate, there are few signs that lawmakers will bow to the will of the electorate, who overwhelmingly favor stricter gun laws, according to Polling Report.
Despite all that, politicians looking no further than their next election are fast becoming more than just complacent slaves to the gun lobby. They are putting their own lives in the sights of gun-holders, whether or not they mentally capable of owning them.
The Washington Post reports,
Scalise remained in critical condition, according to officials at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Four other people were wounded by gunfire and two of them were still hospitalized, including a lobbyist who remains in critical condition.
How many lives must be lost before Congress shouts down the NRA and leads the nation toward a path to where streets, schools, nightclubs, and baseball fields, are places where mass shootings are unheard of?
The right to life needs to be more than an anti-abortion talking point. And like all political debates, it’s best won in a voting booth for candidates with spines that won’t bend to the the will of the NRA.
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