What Congress was Doing While Las Vegas was Dying

By Bill Mefford, photo by Slate.com

You know how you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when some tragedy happened? I remember what I was doing when I found out about 9-11, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up in 1986, when the Columbine shooting happened, etc. Those events and so many more are embedded in my memory and on my psyche. 

It is truly instructive to see what Congress is up to regarding preventing gun violence when the deadliest act of gun violence in US history occurred.

The Natural Resources Committee in the House recently passed H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act out of committee. The SHARE Act would gut long-standing regulations on silencers and loosen restrictions on armor piercing bullets. This legislation actually deregulates silencers, opening up a huge market for those products. The current registry of silencer sales will actually be destroyed and unlicensed sellers would not be required to conduct background checks.

The SHARE Act also weakens the regulation of interstate transport of firearms, meaning that law enforcement officers who stop to question people suspected of trafficking firearms across state lines could be sued personally for detaining the suspect. Even more, guns will no longer be required to be stored in a container or trunk. Guns would be allowed in the passenger compartment. And this little piece of legislation will eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.”

As the shooter in Las Vegas was mowing down hundreds of people from a window on the 32nd floor the NRA-controlled Congress was all for guns everywhere! And more dangerous than ever! That is literally Congress' and the NRA’s goal.

The NRA and other gun lobbies will make a killing – literally and figuratively speaking from its passage. Oh yeah, one more thing, this bill also prohibits people from suing the U.S. government if they are shot at a firing range owned in whole or part by the U.S. government. So, more danger and less protection.

Please, please, please, never fall again for the statement that NRA-controlled politicians are interested in public safety. They are not. They just aren't. 

But hey, that’s not all!

Congress is also busy trying to pass H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that would force states to honor the concealed carry weapons permits of every other state, regardless of how lax the other state's law. So, now we get to sink to the lowest common denominator in terms of gun violence prevention. Conservatives used to be about states’ rights, but I guess that only applies when they want to keep people in forced servitude. When it comes to public safety, the NRA-controlled Congress wants you and I to be in the greatest danger imaginable. They do not give one single damn about protecting people. If they did, you would not see HR 3668 or HR 38. You would see a total ban on automatic weapons and high capacity magazines and universal background checks. This is the very least they should do.

So, why doesn’t the Republican and NRA-controlled Congress give a damn about you and I and others vulnerable to gun violence? Money.

The NRA poured $30 million into donald trump’s campaign for presidency. The NRA also bought Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) for a cool 6.2 million. The NRA then spread $14.1 million over the remaining Senate races involving Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roy Blount (R-MO), and Todd Young (R-IN).

House seats are cheaper so thankfully the NRA was able to save some money on them, especially considering the House was not in play last cycle and the Senate was. So, they spent $1 million over 48 races, making two substantial investments in Republican incumbent candidates — just under $215,000 in Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania, and about $175,000 in Bruce Poliquin of Maine. Both candidates won.

Ironically, the only race they lost – ONLY RACE – was the Senate seat in Nevada.

This is why people keep dying. Because Republicans want power and gun-related deaths are worth that cost.

If you are as sick as I am then I hope you won’t end this blog by shaking your head and doing nothing. That’s exactly what the NRA wants you to do.

Let’s at the very least stop the passage of HR 3668 and HR 38.

Call the Capitol Hill switchboard, 202-224-3121 3 times – once for each Senator and once for your Representative – and tell them to vote no on HR 3668 and HR 38. Tell them we need them to provide real leadership to prevent gun violence.

And go here to find out who your Representative or Senators are.

They will not lead so it is up to us. Let us be faithful for when this crap keeps happening because we already know the NRA-controlled Congress will not.

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