Friday, August 28, 2015

The Murderous NRA... And The Democrats


92% of voters-- that's 98% of Democratic voters and 86% of Republican voters-- agree that there should be universal background checks for gun purchases. Even 92% of gun owners are on board with that. 91% of gun owners also say that there should be laws to prevent people with mental illness from buying guns. This week, PPP surveyed New Hampshire voters and found only 9% opposed to universal background checks on gun buyers. In New Hampshire 96% of Democrats, 82% of independents and 79% of Republicans want background checks. So why are Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Republican Rep. Frank Guinta so adamantly opposed to background checks?

Mike Thompson, a Napa Blue Dog and gun owner, says, "The only thing standing in the way of it passing is the Republican Majority in the House... [I]f the Republican Majority would allow a vote, my bill would pass." It didn't pass; Boehner, at the behest of the gun manufacturers' lobbyist group, the NRA, refused to allow it to come to a vote

In fact, there hasn't been a vote on gun legislation on the floor of the House since 2011, and that was to hamper the feds from investigating gun crimes committed with semi-automatic weapons, an amendment that was introduced by Oklahoma Blue Dog Dan Boren (who was subsequently forced to retire from Congress or face defeat). 41 mostly conservative Democrats voted for it along with all the Republicans, and it passed, 277-149

Most of the Democrats who did the NRA's bidding that day were, like Boren, driven out of Congress. But not all of them. Still in the House today:
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Pete DeFazio (OR)
Gene Green (TX)
Brian Higgins (NY)
Ron Kind (New Dem-WI)
Ben Ray Luján (DCCC Chairman)
Ed Perlmutter (New Dem-CO)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Jared Polis (New Dem-CO)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD)
Tim Ryan (OH)
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)
Adam Smith (New Dem-WA)
Tim Walz (MN)
Peter Welch (VT)
At the time, Boren justified his pandering to the NRA by saying:
Last December, ATF published an emergency request…It asked… for the power to collect information from firearms retailers on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days. This would include many of today's most popular rifles used by millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting, and other lawful purposes.…I strongly oppose granting ATF this information-collecting authority for three reasons: first, it would subject responsible firearms sellers who are often small business owners to burdensome reporting requirements. Second, ATF would catalog records on Americans who purchase rifles, thereby compromising their privacy. And, finally, ATF lacks legal authority to collect this information.
Judy Chu, a Los Angeles-area progressive, spoke for almost all Democrats when she explained why she opposed Boren's murderous NRA amendment:
Thirty thousand. That's how many people were violently slaughtered by the Mexican drug cartels in just 4 short years. One of them was Bobby Salcedo, an American citizen and rising star from my district. He was kidnapped and murdered last year with a semiautomatic rifle. I oppose this amendment because it makes it harder to stop these types of violent acts. This amendment will prevent the tracing of bulk sales of the military-style rifles, popular with cartels, that have resulted in tragic murders like Bobby's. Last year, the U.S. military announced that, if the drug war continues, it could cause the Mexican Government to collapse, and the cartel war could spread over the border into the U.S. This amendment makes the drug war worse. Every day, people are dying from this war, even American citizens. We must stop it, and we can by opposing this amendment.
Almost every Republican scored a ZERO from ProgressivePunch for their lifetime voting record on gun safety. No big surprise. But today there are 4 Democrats who score that same ZERO: Bill Foster (New Dem-IL), Gene Green (TX), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) and Dina Titus (NV).

Last cycle alone, the NRA gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans in Congress and running for Congress. Again, no surprise. But the NRA also spent money on Democratic shills for their blood-soaked agenda. Many, like hideous Georgia Blue Dog John Barrow (in the video above), were defeated. But still in Congress today, taking NRA blood money and with their heads up the NRA's ass, are:
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)- $3,500
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- $1,000
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)- $5,950
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- $2,000
Tim Walz (MN)- $2,000
Yes, it's easy to demonize Republicans for the gun violence in this country-- easy and appropriate-- but this is a somewhat bipartisan holocaust, even if Republicans in Congress are overwhelmingly more to blame.

Yesterday I got a frantic plea for money from conservative Arizona New Dem Ann Kirkpatrick. She's running for the Senate against the worthless John McCain. But she's pretty worthless herself-- another "Democrat" with an "A" rating from the NRA. And Schumer recruited her to run for the Senate. Why? So she can vote for the NRA's toxic, deathly agenda. Her e-mail missive said, "We could flip the Senate," but she didn't mention that she would be "flipping" it more in favor of the NRA. And she isn't the only Senate candidate Schumer recruited who is beloved of the NRA. In Ohio, Ted Strickland has been a forever supporter of the NRA, and unlike Kirkpatrick, who they rated "A," they gave Strickland an A+.

The NRA rarely endorses Democrats over Republicans but sometimes a Democrat is so subservient to them that they just go for it. And that was the case in 2010 when they backed pet Democrat Ted Strickland and his losing campaign over Republican John Kasich. Both the NRA and the Buckeye Firearms Association scored Strickland an A+ that year-- again, not an A, a much more coveted and rare A+.

What, exactly, did Strickland do to endear himself so to the gun lobbyists? Here are a few examples of his fealty to the murder machine:
Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers
Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse
Wrote that he opposes restrictions on the right to bear arms in a survey for the Christian Coalition in 2010
On the 1996 National Political Awareness Test, he indicated that he supports the principle of repealing all bans and measures that restrict law-abiding citizens from owning legally-obtained firearms.
And that barely touches the surface of the mutual admiration society between Strickland and the gun industry.
Ted Strickland has a pro-gun voting record in Congress. As such, he was endorsed by both the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association in his party primary last May. In the early days of his gubernatorial campaign in Ohio, he spoke out against a Columbus ban on most semi-automatic rifles that cost the city $20 million in convention revenue, voiced support for Ohio's two year-old concealed carry law, and told legislators they should pass a bill which would prevent municipal gun control laws and make firearms laws uniform across the state.
The progressive Democrat running for the Ohio Senate seat held by Rob Portman is Blue America-endorsed PG Sittenfeld. This morning we asked him how he would differ from Portman and Strickland on issues around gun safety.
In the Senate, I will fight for common sense gun safety measures, starting with universal background checks with no gun show loopholes. Senseless killings by people who never should have had a gun in the first place must stop, and it's going to take more senators willing to stand up and do what's right  to make that happen.
If you'd like to help make sure Sittenfeld beats the NRA's Ohio Tweedle-Dum and Tweddle-Dee, you can do that right here. Needless to say, the big establishment money is all flowing to Portman and Strickland, so whatever you can spare would be immensely appreciated. Democrats can whine about gun violence till the cows come home, but as long as the party machinery is promoting NRA shills like Strickland and Kirkpatrick, nothing will ever change.

UPDATE: Report From Congress

A progressive Member of Congress read the post above and e-mailed me that I forgot to mention someone who deserved recognition for his efforts on behalf of the NRA, "Zach Space, who did far worse than vote for NRA stuff; he actually lined up votes for it." Now a lobbyist, Space was a 2 term Blue Dog from Ohio who "won" Bob Ney's seat after Ney withdrew from the race and pleaded guilty to taking bribes from Jack Abramoff (for which he went to prison). The NRA gave Space a rare A+ rating and endorsed his reelection campaign against eventual Republican victor Bob Gibbs.
As a member of Congress, Space has demonstrated his commitment to our Second Amendment rights by cosponsoring legislation to restore self-defense rights in our nation's capital, as well as signing the pro-gun congressional amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting our individual right to keep and bear arms in the Heller case. Additionally, he is the lead sponsor of legislation to force much-needed reform of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and cosponsored the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity amendment, which would provide a national standard for carrying concealed firearms.  Space also signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder opposing re-enactment of the failed 1994 ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines.

Furthermore, Space voted for an amendment that ensures access to federally-owned or administered lands for hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting, as well as an amendment that allows carry permit holders to carry concealed in national parks and wildlife refuges. Most recently, he signed the pro-gun congressional amicus brief arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that protects all Americans in the McDonald case.

Zack Space's commitment to preserving our right to keep and bear arms has earned him an "A+" rating and the endorsement of the NRA-PVF.
Although Space massively outspent Gibbs in the 2010 election-- $2,931,978 to $1,090,872-- Gibbs beat him 54-40% because Democratic base voters had gotten wise to Space's conservatism and refused to show up and vote for him again. Chris Hollen, then head of the DCCC was determined to save Space-- and the other pro-NRA Democrats-- and wasted $1,559,434 on the race, while allowing progressive incumbents to sink beneath the waves of a Koch brothers spending tsunami.

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At 12:19 PM, Blogger Pats said...

So, here's a question. If so few people favor unlimited guns, the way the NRA does, where does the NRA get their money? If I were an NRA member and I realized they were using my membership funds to fight any kind of gun control whatsoever, I would drop my membership. I imagine there must be some otherwise sane people who have NRA memberships.

Or is the NRA getting a big chunk of their funding from gun and ammo manufacturers?

I think the ammo makers are the one spreading the story that Obama is planning to take away the gun owners' ammo. I have a coworker who swears this is true; he has been stockpiling ammo for some time and tells me he is not the only one. (He is not completely crazy, just an avid hunter who believes NRA rhetoric) As a result, ammo prices have skyrocketed, which benefits the ammo makers.


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