With at least two dozen people fatally shot during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, many Americans are again demanding meaningful action from their leaders to curb gun violence in the United States.
But as was the case with previous massacres, including the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, nothing is likely to change. Instead, Donald Trump and other spineless Republican lawmakers will offer their “thoughts and prayers” before punching out for the day.
If you’re wondering why this has become business as usual in this country, follow the money.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the National Rifle Association forked over more than $50 million to key Republican candidates in 2016, including Trump.
“The gun rights group placed multimillion-dollar bets on Donald Trump and six Republican Senate candidates locked in highly competitive races,” the OpenSecrets report noted. “It poured $50.2 million, or 96 percent of its total outside spending, into these races, and lost only one.”
This level of NRA spending is nothing new either. As the report continued: “Over the three prior election cycles, the group disbursed $1 million dollars or more toward 14 congressional races, and achieved its desired outcome 11 times. To help Republicans win back the Senate in 2014, it spent $20.6 million dollars on five key races in the upper chamber, and in each of them, its preferred candidate won.”
While average Americans – even most gun owners – are baffled every time our leaders refuse to act in the face of such unspeakable gun violence, Republicans up and down the federal government barely think twice before brushing it under the rug.
Sure, they’ll spew the standard nonsense about it being “too soon” to discuss gun violence or about “good guys” needing heavy weaponry or that gun laws are ineffective (not true) to appease their constituents, but they know better – and so should we.
Despite what these guardians of the status quo say, this has never been about protecting human life or even defending the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Every time they say it is, they’re lying.
This disgusting American ritual of feeling outraged and saddened about the latest mass shooting and then watching our leaders do nothing is all about money.
The NRA and the GOP lawmakers they bankroll know that enacting smarter firearm regulations is not tyrannical. They know it’s not an attack on law-abiding citizens or the Second Amendment. Deep down, they might even recognize that tougher regulations actually work in places that have them.
But they also understand that if gun owners aren’t constantly afraid that somebody is coming for their precious weapons, then they won’t feel the need to stockpile them. This would result in fewer dollars going to the gun manufacturers that fund the NRA, which means the extremist gun organization wouldn’t have as much money to bankroll GOP campaigns.
As we continue to learn more about the tragedy in Texas, there will likely be more calls from Democrats and other common sense politicians for tougher gun laws. American citizens should join them and tell their own representatives to act.
But the disturbing truth is this: As long as Donald Trump is president and Republicans have complete control of Congress, these voices are likely to be drowned out.
To them, body counts don’t matter so long as the NRA checks keep cashing.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.