Following the Tragedy in Las Vegas Republicans and Democrats Sing Very Different Tunes.
After the deadliest American shooting in recent history, Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to offer condolences, but one side seemed to have a very different take on how to move forward than did the other.
"We are joined together today in sadness, shock and grief," Trump said in remarks at the White House.
Trump said he ordered flags on federal buildings to be flown at half-staff and added that he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and victims.
The President closed his remarks by saying he prayed for "the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe."
At least 58 people have been killed and more than 500 injured in the shooting, which began late Sunday night, police said. The suspected gunman was killed following what has now become the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Earlier Monday, Trump tweeted to offer his sympathies.
"My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!" Trump tweeted.
As Trump and other top GOP officials rushed to offer condolences their actions tell a different tale as they prepare to vote on a bill rolling back gun regulations. The GOP-sponsored bill, the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), would remove gun silencers from the list of items regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act. Under current law, silencers, which reduce the noise emitted from firearms, are regulated as strictly as machine guns and short-barreled rifles.
The National Rifle Association’s top legislative priority this year has been to roll back the regulations on what they call noise suppressors. The gun lobby claims the restrictions are costly and unnecessary since silencers are rarely used to commit crimes.
Opponents, meanwhile, say the fact that silencers are rarely used to commit crimes means the regulation is working. They claim that deregulation would lead to more gun violence and to more death and injury when a mass shooting occurs.
David Chipman, senior policy advisor for Americans for Responsible Solutions and a former special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified in September that the bill is an immense threat to public safety.
“Congress is promoting a bill that would make a [shooting] potentially even more dangerous by putting silencers in the hands of criminals, and making it difficult for people — including law enforcement officers — to identify the sound of gunshots and locate an active shooter,” he told Congress.
How then, in the wake of such horrible tragedies, does the NRA get away with bills like the one mentioned above? With money of course. Let's take a look at some of the candidates the NRA helped ensure took office:
North Carolina Senate: $4.2 million: Thom Tillis won
Colorado Senate: $4 million: Cory Gardner won
Louisiana Senate: $2.7 million: Bill Cassidy won
Iowa Senate: $2.7 million: Joni Ernst won
Arkansas Senate: $1.9 million: Tom Cotton won
Georgia Senate: $1.4 million: David Perdue won
Kansas Senate: $1.2 million: Sen. Pat Roberts won
Arkansas House: $1 million: French Hill won
Kentucky Senate: $900,000: Sen. Mitch McConnell won
And while Mitch McConnell and co tweeted their sympathies to the victims of Las Vegas it's unlikely they'll change their tune on gun control anytime soon, especially with the NRA lining their pockets so well.
Oh and just how much did the NRA contribute to Trump? Take a look below:
So it's no surprise to anyone that Trump, who owes the NRA quite a bit of thanks for his 2016 win, is offering condolences and condolences alone. While Democrats are far from perfect their responses do offer a solution. Hillary Clinton had this to say:
Dem. Senator Chris Murphey had this to say:
"Today my heart is with the victims, their families, the first responders and the entire community in Las Vegas. Tens of thousands of people have had their lives ripped open by this violence.
This must stop. America is the only place where horrific mass shootings happen with this degree of regularity. We are, yet again, facing the aftershock of the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
It is infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic. There are. The thoughts and prayers of politicians ring cruelly hollow if they are not paired with action. It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something."
So while certain NRA backed republicans including the President and Senate Majority Leader continue to act as if mass shootings are an unfortunate fact of life, not subject to change, it's important to remember why they do little more than offer condolences and prayers in the wake of these mass tragedies: because they NRA pays them a lot to do so.