GOP is done pretending to care about gun violence just 3 weeks after mass shootings


Polling shows that it's actually opposition to gun safety reform that's the fringe political stance.

Just three weeks past the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Republicans are already making it clear they are not interested in enacting the gun safety reforms demanded by millions of Americans.

"I really don't see the dynamic having really changed there much," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Politico Monday. Johnson's comment was in reference to a renewed effort to pass background check legislation in the Senate.

"I don't anticipate we're going to pass a federal red flag law," Johnson added, referring to the policy touted by some Republicans in the days immediately following the murders. Red flag laws allow the government to remove guns from the possession of someone who has been proven to be a risk to themselves or others.

Johnson's comments reflect the rhetoric and actions of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has resisted calls to reconvene the Senate to address gun laws. Just three days after the shootings, McConnell dismissed gun safety efforts as "theatrics."

Trump spoke about red flag laws in the days following the shooting, but after a public pressure campaign from the beleaguered NRA, he has stopped speaking about the issue as much.

"President Donald Trump has emphasized there are already strong background checks on the books this weekend, an apparent reversal from his drive to push his party on tightening background checks," Politico said.

Republicans have sought to blame the shootings on a host of societal issues, including mental health, video games, a lack of school prayer, and social media, rather than address guns and their role in society.

At the same time that Trump and his party are taking marching orders from the NRA, that organization has been rocked with a series of reports, a new one released nearly every day detailing how the organization has been misspending donor money while also crying poverty.

Polls after the shooting show that key gun safety measures opposed by Republicans have wide support in America, including with Republican voters: 78% support more stringent background checks, 59% support a ban on semi-automatic guns, 65% support a ban on high-capacity gun magazines, and 66% support gun registration.

Opposition to these changes largely exists only with Republican officeholders and the NRA. They are fringe positions.

The Republican Party addressed this reality in a secret memo circulated among House Republicans last week that offered talking points designed to neutralize voters who ask why the party won't listen to them on guns.

The memo even tried to blame the El Paso shooting — which was done by someone with clear anti-immigrant sentiments similar to Trump's — on "the left."

Americans want action on gun violence and, while Democrats in the House have addressed it, Republicans have made it clear they will ignore the will of the people.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.