By now most Americans are aware that despite the deadly massacre in Orlando Florida that targeted members of the LGBT community, Senate Republicans blocked four basic and sensible gun safety laws on Monday. Now, one might say that it is typical of conservatives to block any and all gun safety measures and that would be a partially correct assumption. However, yesterday while Senate Republicans were doing their due diligence in service to the NRA and gun manufacturing lobby, both conservatives and liberals on the nation’s highest court took a different course.
Maybe it was because some Americans, and people from around the world, are reeling over the deadliest mass shooting in history, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to one state’s sane ban on semi-automatic rifles. The Connecticut law was enacted shortly after a maniac with an assault rifle slaughtered 20 little children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Connecticut law made it illegal to sell or possess assault-style weapons and the high court decided it would not weigh in and allow the law to stand. As Adam Liptak of the New York Times reported, “The decision not to hear the case…is part of a trend in which the Justices have given at least tacit approval to gun-control laws in states and localities that choose to enact them.”
That decision not to hear the Connecticut case was not the only rare win for gun safety advocates. The Court’s Justices also “left in place legislation in New York that bans assault rifles” making New York and Connecticut two of the seven states that “outlaw weapons similar to the one used last week” to massacre 49 American citizens celebrating at a gay nightclub. Obviously, no matter what any American says, it appears that as influential as the NRA is on conservatives, they have not reached the juncture where the Justices on the Supreme Court bend to their demands. Sadly, that is not the case with Republican politicians.
The current Republican leader (not Wayne La Pierre) Donald Trump is the perfect example of a Republican who dutifully obeys the NRA chief La Pierre when it is politically expedient. To hear Trump today is like listening to La Pierre or Ted Nugent calling for more guns in America. But in 2000 in a book, The America We Deserve, Trump endorsed assault weapons ban and railed on the GOP for serving the NRA. Trump wrote, “The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions.”
And, after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, Trump tweeted, “President Obama spoke for me and every American in his remarks in #Newtown Connecticut.” Remember, President Obama spoke for Trump with an emotional appeal to Republicans for sane gun safety regulations after 20 children were gunned down in cold blood, but since he is running as a Republican for the presidency, Trump is firmly in the NRA’s camp and dutifully parroting their call for more, not fewer, guns.
Now, it would be easy to say that conservatives in general, and Republicans in particular, are blocking any and all gun safety measures due to the will of the American people. That would explain why the unelected Justices, including the conservative Justices, rejected the NRA’s appeal to strike down the Connecticut and New York ban on assault weapons, except that is just not the case. In fact, despite what Republicans are wont to claim, the will of the people is to enact, at least minimal, gun safety measures.
According to a brand new poll from CNN, 92 percent of the American people support expanded background checks and 85 percent support prevent people on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying guns at all. Republicans in Congress do not agree with the overwhelming majority of the people, including 83 percent of gun owners nationally, who support criminal background checks on all sales of firearms. Obviously no sane American believes selling assault weapons or any weapons for that matter, to suspected terrorists and that is why yesterday’s Senate vote informs there are either very, very few sane Republicans in the upper chamber or there is another motivation to keep Americans reeling from bloodbaths.
What is more apparent is that it is not the GOP’s lack of sanity driving America’s gun proliferation, but the “gun lobby’s outsized spending and influence in the [Republican] Congress” preventing gun safety measure enactment. As reported by Think Progress, the 56 Republicans who voted to allow terror suspects unrestricted access to assault weapons received more than $36 million in political campaign donations. It is not the Republicans’ devotion to more guns and bloody massacres that is the problem; it is, as usual, the money.
It is really getting to the point that there isn’t much to comment on about Republican devotion to the National Rifle Association. For dog’s sake they have no respect or devotion to Americans and their safety regardless their claims that blocking gun safety laws protect Americans. One might even understand their failure to act after a maniacal anti-LGBT madman slaughtered 49 innocent Americans, what with the GOP’s hatred of gays, but this adherence to doing the will of the NRA has persisted even after 20 innocent children were slaughtered and nine innocent African American churchgoers were massacred as they worshipped.
There is little doubt there are at least one or two Republicans who are sincere when they offer their worthless prayers for the victims of gun violence; it is, after all, human to mourn the loss of innocent life. However, now that Republicans have once again blocked what any conscious American would consider common sense gun safety measures, it is obvious that their comments of condolence after each massacre are as phony and worthless as their prayers for the victims. Prayers and comments, by the way, that are likely suggested by the NRA to pacify the overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners, who want gun safety measures enacted. What is particularly telling is that even the conservatives on the Supreme Court did not think banning assault weapons is an abomination. But then again, the National Rifle Association is not paying the High Court’s Justices to do their bidding like they are the Republicans in Congress.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.