Maybe — hopefully — some of them actually believe the “slippery slope” argument that to limit gun sales in any way is so bound to lead straight to mass confiscation of all hunting rifles and handguns that there’s nothing they can do to curb mass casualties. (After all, many Democrats feel this same way about abortion law.)
The only other explanation is that while they do care about children, these feelings are never enough to compel them to buck their NRA patrons, who are just as able and willing as their NARAL counterparts are to end the political lives of any who dissent.
In Parkland, Fla., where 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were shot dead on Wednesday, a beloved football coach died after throwing his body between the gunman and the kids.
Yet where’s the GOP member of Congress who would throw himself between the NRA and Americans in danger to save lives? Nobody?
After the Las Vegas shooting in which 58 people died, some said they might be willing to ban bump stocks, the attachment by which the gunman altered his semiautomatic rifle to ramp up its killing capacity, making it function like a fully automatic weapon.
But then the NRA said that could be done without legislation, so it was never even put to a vote.
Last year, Republicans in Congress banded together to overturn an Obama-era regulation that would have made it more difficult for those so seriously mentally ill that they can’t take care of their own finances to access guns. All of our local GOP lawmakers voted for it, including Sens. Roy Blunt, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts and Reps. Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder. Democrats Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver voted against it.
In the 2016 election cycle, 99 percent of NRA donations went to Republicans. Blunt was among the NRA’s top recipients, collecting a contribution of $9,900.
Graves and Hartzler each received $2,000, as did Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Rep. Kevin Yoder received $4,000.
But the NRA is also behind a number of the independent expenditures tracked by OpenSecrets and funneled either in opposition or support of a candidate.
The most telling amount: All of $150 was spent against Republicans in 2016.
The largest contribution aimed at influencing our 2016 local races by far was the $1,855,761 spent against Democrat Jason Kander in his race against Blunt.
Similarly, Roberts was helped out substantially in his 2014 race to retain his seat, with $605,807 spent by the NRA.
Aren’t American lives worth more than that?
Only in America, where lobbies run everything, do we believe that there’s no way to keep guns out of the hands of even the most dangerous people without taking them away from the most law-abiding.
That’s not true, and certainly not based on the common sense for which we give ourselves so much credit.
But that misperception will only change when voters make that clear to their elected representatives — and speak louder than the NRA.
Contact your member of Congress:
Sen. Roy Blunt: Washington: 202-224-5721; local: 816-471-7141
Sen. Claire McCaskill: Washington: 202-224-6154; local: 816-421-1639
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver: Washington: 202-225-4535; local: 816-842-4545
Rep. Sam Graves: 1135 Washington: 202-225-7041; local: 816-792-3976
Rep. Vicky Hartzler: Washington: 202-225-2876; local: 816-884-3411
Sen. Pat Roberts: Washington: 202-224-4774; local: 913-451-9343
Sen. Jerry Moran: Washington: 202-224-6521; local: 913-393-0711
Rep. Kevin Yoder: Washington: 202-225-2865; local: 913-621-0832
Rep. Lynn Jenkins: Washington: 202-225-6601; local: 785-234-5966