If Conservatives Refuse To Protect Us Against NRA Terror, What Good Are They Really?
The video above is a pretty strong statement from P.G. Sittenfeld's Ohio Senate campaign. He's running in a primary against the NRA's most prized Democrat, Ted Strickland, so that he can take on the incumbent Republican, Rob Portman, who's almost been as slavish an NRA shill as Strickland has been. This week, the Senate Democrats voted as a block to end gun sales to terrorism suspects. But one Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp, betrayed the Democratic position and crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP (and the NRA and the terrorists)-- and Heitkamp was never as pro-NRA as Strickland has been for his entire career! You can help Sittenfeld beat his two frick and frack NRA opponents here on the Blue America Senate candidates page
Some people were cheering when former Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, now a candidate for Congress in a blue district, boasted that he was renouncing his lifetime NRA membership because of what had happened in San Bernardino this week. "Our country, he wrote to the NRA, "is facing a tragic gun violence epidemic, and we cannot ignore it. Still, the NRA opposes any legislation that would help keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill, and spends millions to stop any action in Congress that could help prevent further violence. I cannot continue to be a member while the NRA refuses to back closing these loopholes." OK, well good for Oceguera. But why did he not tear up his NRA card when one of these events happened?
• May 5, 2009- Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 people and injured 32 others at Ft. Hood, Texas.
• Jan. 8, 2011- Jared Loughner shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head in Tucson supermarket, killed 6 others and wounded 11 more.
• July 20, 2012- James Holmes shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and wounding 58.
• August 5, 2012- White supremacist and right-wing domestic terrorist Wade Michael Page fatally shot 6 people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
• December 14, 2012- Adam Lanza shot up the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut killing 20 first graders and 6 adults (after murdering his mother).
• September 16, 2013- Navy contractor Aaron Alexis shoots shoots 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard.
• Elliot Rodger carefully planned a murder rampage for a year before murdering 6 and wounding 7 others in Isla Vista, California.
• June 18, 2015- Right-wing terrorist Dylann Storm Roof shot up the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing 9 and wounding 3.
• October 1, 2015- White supremacist Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shot and killed 8 fellow students and a teacher and wounded 9 others at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
• Nov, 29, 2015- Right-wing terrorist Robert Lewis Dear entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and started shooting, killing 3 and wounding 9.
Kicker: example- Koch's Freedom Partners just gave the NRA $5 million
Well, in 2012, Oceguera was running for Congress in a red-leaning district and it wasn't as convenient to denounce the NRA as it was this week. Does that sound jaded and unkind? Take a look at this report from Anjanette Damron in the August 7, 2011 Las Vegas Sun.
It’s not often that two Democrats try to outdo each other on who can best push the National Rifle Association’s legislation-- even in Nevada.This year the deceitful Oceguera is running against progressive Democrat Ruben Kihuen in a bluer district, where Kihuen is proposing effective legislation in contrast to the knee-jerk Republican-NRA incumbent Cresent Hardy. Kihuen recently wrote to NV-04 voters that "there are real, tangible steps that we can take as a country to limit the ability of troubled or homicidal people to obtain and use guns."
But that was at the heart of a skirmish between state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, and Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, in the middle of the legislative session this year.
Now, the two Democrats are potentially facing each other in a primary for Congress, a fight that usually sees the candidates work to outdo each other on who can best appeal to the party’s most liberal voters.
Because the Legislature failed to pass a redistricting plan, the lines for Nevada’s four congressional districts haven’t been drawn yet. But both Democrats have launched congressional campaigns, and early indications are they will both seek to take on Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.
Their NRA cred will likely be an important issue for whichever Democrat faces Heck, particularly if the district stays relatively competitive and includes the rural counties that flank Clark County.
Lee has typically received an A-plus rating from the NRA, while Oceguera has said he’s proud of his A rating.
In April, as lawmakers were debating a host of gun-rights legislation, Lee wrote a scathing letter to Oceguera, accusing him of ripping off other legislators’ bills so he could get credit from the NRA. Oceguera sponsored an omnibus gun-rights bill meant to address most of the issues of the NRA.
“I hope that in your zest for self-promotion and aggrandizement in trying to receive a coveted A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association that you haven’t jeopardized the ability to pass sensible and much-needed legislation concerning the gun rights of Nevadans,” Lee wrote.
He later told Las Vegas Sun reporter David McGrath Schwartz that Oceguera relied on bullying tactics as a legislative leader.
In his own letter, Oceguera responded by touting his biennial endorsements from the NRA and accused Lee of being “very angry about the legislation I am sponsoring, which protects the right of gun owners all across this state.”
Lee returned the letter unopened, saying he didn’t want to continue the debate.
Lawmakers passed Oceguera’s omnibus gun rights bill, as well as several other similar pieces of legislation sponsored by the lawmakers Lee thought Oceguera had “plagiarized.”
But the Assembly, under Oceguera’s leadership, killed Lee’s signature gun-rights legislation, a bill that would have allowed concealed weapon permit holders to bring firearms onto college campuses — a measure the NRA lobbied heavily for.
So, who got the credit-- and the blame-- for the Legislature’s work on gun rights legislation this year?
The NRA has yet to release its rating for the 2012 election, but it did issue a newsletter congratulating legislators who sponsored and helped pass its priority legislation. The newsletter credits Oceguera for his omnibus legislation and another bill he sponsored making it easier for gun owners to defend themselves using deadly force.
But who gets the blame for killing Lee’s “campus carry” legislation? Not Oceguera.
The NRA’s letter puts the blame on Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “Horne refused to bring (Senate Bill) 231 up for a vote, despite the fact that the NRA had secured the votes to get it out of committee and on to the floor,” the newsletter said.
Oceguera said earlier in the session that he supported the campus carry bill, but wasn’t going to wrangle the votes from his caucus for it. (Oceguera was unavailable for comment for this story.)
• Increasing the scrutiny and waiting periods for background checks during all purchasesHe continued, pointing out that "Congress has made sure that it is incredibly easy to get firearms and use them to indiscriminately murder schoolchildren, coworkers at an office party, or innocent bystanders. Congressman Hardy and the Republicans in Congress even voted 3 times this week to block commonsense, bipartisan legislation that would have made it tougher for terrorists to buy guns. This is just unacceptable. Whether we like it or not, we are complicit by our unwillingness to take any steps to prevent tragedies like this week’s shootings from happening again. We’ve seen it too many times, and we must act to stop the bloodshed."
• Limiting the ability of convicts, those on federal terrorist watch lists and the mentally ill to purchase weapons
• Criminalizing the possession of weapons that simply have no reasonable use for sportsmen or in self-defense
You can help Kihuen beat Hardy (and Oceguera) here at the Blue America ActBlue page. This morning, President Obama delivered his weekly address to the nation, and I doubt Paul Ryan and the other GOP/NRA death merchants were happy to hear what he had to say.
This weekend, our hearts are with the people of San Bernardino-- another American community shattered by unspeakable violence. We salute the first responders-- the police, the SWAT teams, the EMTs-- who responded so quickly, with such courage, and saved lives. We pray for the injured as they fight to recover from their wounds.
Most of all, we stand with 14 families whose hearts are broken. We’re learning more about their loved ones-- the men and women, the beautiful lives, that were lost. They were doing what so many of us do this time of year-- enjoying the holidays. Celebrating with each other. Rejoicing in the bonds of friendship and community that bind us together, as Americans. Their deaths are an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.
We’re also learning more about the killers. And we’re working to get a full picture of their motives-- why they committed these revolting acts. It’s important to let the investigators do their job. We need to know all the facts. And at my direction, federal law enforcement is helping in every way that they can. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.
It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror. And if so, it would underscore a threat we’ve been focused on for years-- the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people-- around the world and in our country-- to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors. And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us-- government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders-- need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.
More broadly, this tragedy reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power, together, to keep our communities safe. We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons-- weapons of war-- to kill as many people as they could. It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.
For example, right now, people on the No-Fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That is insane. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I’m calling on Congress to close this loophole, now. We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but-- at a bare minimum-- we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.
Today in San Bernardino, investigators are searching for answers. Across our country, our law enforcement professionals are tireless. They’re working around the clock-- as always-- to protect our communities. As President, my highest priority is the security and safety of the American people. This is work that should unite us all-- as Americans-- so that we’re doing everything in our power to defend our country. That’s how we can honor the lives we lost in San Bernardino. That’s how we can send a message to all those who would try to hurt us. We are Americans. We will uphold our values-- a free and open society. We are strong. And we are resilient. And we will not be terrorized.