Indivisible Austin statement on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
Another day, another massacre in America and what we said after the Las Vegas shooting is still true:
“Thoughts and prayers are never going to stop these murderous acts of domestic terrorism. Senseless gun deaths will keep happening as long as Congress refuses to take action. What we need are common-sense gun control laws, which the public overwhelmingly supports.”
What’s different this time is that it’s an election year, with a groundswell of new activists ready to cast their ballots. Something else feels different: students who are not quite yet old enough to vote are speaking loudly to their representatives and letting them know that they will no longer stand for Congressional inaction in protecting our schools and our children.
We must vote out those who will not act to solve the deadly epidemic of gun violence that is sweeping our nation. Here’s a guide to where our current members of Congress stand on a number of recent issues related to the epidemic of gun violence.
“But Mental Health…!”
The GOP raises the specter of “mental health” every time there’s a mass murder, while simultaneously voting to gut the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and other mental health services. This is not a solution, it’s an excuse to do nothing.
On Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump signed HJ Resolution 40, a bill that made it easier for people with mental illness to obtain guns. Cosponsors of the bill included:
- Michael McCaul (TX-10)
- Bill Flores (TX-17)
- Lamar Smith (TX-21)
- Roger Williams (TX-25)
- John Carter (TX-31)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35) voted No. Senators Cornyn and Cruz voted for the Senate version. The bill passed largely on party lines.
People with mental illness are unfairly stigmatized in the gun control debate, and in fact some disability-rights organizations backed this bill. However, the GOP lacks any credibility on this issue, using it as a mechanism to deflect from the real solutions that they find politically impossible.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
In December 2017, all our GOP House representatives also voted for “concealed-carry reciprocity”—which is a disingenuous way of saying that the least restrictive, most “gun-friendly” laws would be recognized across state lines. This would cause a race to the bottom on gun safety standards. All the reps listed above are co-sponsors of this legislation as well. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this year.
Remember that “bump stock ban” that several of our Representatives and senators appeared to favor after October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas? It never happened.
The Gun Lobby
It’s no surprise that the NRA and other Second Amendment absolutists have given money to all of our GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate. But what is surprising is how cheaply our MoCs were bought. Except for Ted Cruz—who was a presidential candidate—our guys were all bought for less than the cost of a new Toyota.
|Member of Congress||2016 gun lobby donations||NRA rating|
We can assume that these lawmakers, many of whom are millionaires, were not simply bought off by NRA donations, but by the backing of the NRA’s endorsement and rating. They believe, deeply, that there should be almost no restrictions on access to AR-15s and other weapons designed to kill other humans in large numbers. Are these the people you want representing you in Congress? Do they reflect your values?
Texas has the first primary in the nation, with early elections beginning on Tuesday, February 20. Now is the time to look at candidates’ positions on gun control and vote accordingly.
And even more importantly, we need to carry forward to November the hurt and rage we all feel about the massacres at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in Las Vegas last year, and the inevitable shootings that will occur between now and the general election.
We really, absolutely cannot wait any longer to address the epidemic of gun violence in America.
From Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots army of Everytown for Gun Safety:
“The millions of dollars and thousands of hours it takes to organize a march are better spent defeating @NRA darlings in the midterms, which are only 263 days away. 90% of Americans agree with us: it’s the lawmakers persuaded by money, not emotion, that we must defeat.”