“If the Republican Party would rather work for the NRA than the American people and if they won’t do their jobs to keep our children safe, then somebody else has to step up,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) charged during a press call Wednesday afternoon, hosted by the White House with members of Congress to discuss President Obama’s actions to reduce gun violence.
Senator Warren framed the issue around keeping our kids and families safer, “I wanted to be on this call today… because we can’t keep waiting to take action that will help stop gun violence in this country and help keep our kids and families safer.”
“The Republicans who control Congress have had all of the time in the world to do something about gun violence,” Warren explained, continuing, “And every time the Democrats have tried to get even the smallest reforms passed the Republicans have flatly refused.”
The Massachusetts Senator crystallized the issue by calling out Republicans for working for the NRA instead of the people, “If the Republican Party would rather work for the NRA than the American people and if they won’t do their jobs to keep our children safe, then somebody else has to step up.”
“And that’s why I strongly support President Obama’s actions to use the existing laws on the books to reduce background check loopholes, to increase mental health treatment and reporting and to improve enforcement of our gun laws,” she clarified, carefully using the phrase “existing laws on the books” to counter Republican claims that the President doesn’t have this authority. (The President has the authority to direct and tweak the implementation of current law on the books; he can’t change current law.)
“Theses steps are smart, reasonable, and most importantly they will make a life and death difference for some children and their families,” Senator Warren intoned, making sure the risk of doing nothing wasn’t overlooked.
“Now it’s time for Congress to step up,” Warren asserted, with a palpable urgency in her voice.
“We need federal action, we need Congress to act,” the Democratic Senator insisted. “The President showed us that change is possible, and we can build on his actions.”
Warren said the President led and Congress must keep fighting for the people, “The majority of Americans are with us on this. We just have to keep fighting. I am ready to have that fight for gun reform right here, right now. Congress owes it to the people we represent and we all owe it to our children and our grandchildren.”
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett explained that it’s not just the mass shootings that dominate the news, but domestic violence, accidents involving children, suicides, gang violence, gun violence affects every community in the country.
Jarrett said that President Obama’s actions are intended to keep guns out of wrong hands by making sure that every way of purchasing guns has to follow the same rules. Furthermore, they plan to keep communities safer by hiring more ATF agents, tracking illegal firearms, tracking lost and stolen guns, improving domestic violence outreach. The President is additionally seeking to increase mental health treatment by $500 million.
These ideas have been traditionally supported by Republicans and the NRA, Garrett pointed out. (True.) They also easily fall under the President’s authority. (Also historically true, though it will be debated as is the right of the opponents.)
Leave it to Senator Warren to say what needed to be said. Gun violence is not some esoteric, abstract issue to be put off as Republicans in Congress cater to their donors and the big money in the NRA. Gun violence impacts every community in our country.
The very least we should expect from lawmakers is that they insist on the most basic of checks before we legally sell guns to anyone who wants one. But that won’t happen in an election year. However, it certainly could mobilize voters to vote down the ticket in 2016 to replace some of the NRA puppets. This is why the administration and Democrats are trying to get the public engaged to stand up for what they want.
As Warren charged, Republicans would rather serve the NRA than the people. Warren ended by responding to a question with, “The NRA can be defeated. The NRA will be defeated.”