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Houston police chief rips McConnell for siding with NRA over abuse victims

Republicans claim the House impeachment inquiry is preventing them from passing gun laws.

By Oliver Willis - December 09, 2019
Houston police chief Art Acevedo

On Monday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo called out Senate Majority Mitch McConnell and other top Republican senators for using impeachment hearings as an excuse for blocking gun safety legislation.

McConnell has refused to allow a Senate vote on the Violence Against Women Act, which was passed by the Democratic-led House in April. The bill has a provision making it more difficult for known domestic abusers to obtain guns.

“We all know in law enforcement that one of the biggest reasons that the Senate and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and others are not getting into a room and having a conference committee with the House and getting the Violence Against Women Act is because the NRA doesn’t like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriend,” said Acevedo.

Acevedo made his statement after the weekend shooting and killing of Sgt. Christopher Brewster, a member of the Houston Police Department, by a man accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

“And who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend,” noted Acevedo. “So you’re either here for women and children and our daughters and our sisters and our aunts, or you’re here for the NRA.”

He added, “I don’t want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I’m burying a sergeant because they don’t want to piss off the NRA.”

Republicans have claimed repeatedly that the House impeachment inquiry has prevented them from working on gun legislation. Democrats in that chamber, meanwhile, have passed hundreds of bills on an array of issues, including gun reform, most of which have stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Acevedo on Monday noted that despite the supposed hold-up in legislation due to the impeachment inquiry, the Senate had still managed to take care of other business, including confirming Donald Trump’s judicial picks.

“Don’t tell me … it’s about the impeachment,” Acevedo said Monday, “because you brag every day … about getting judges confirmed. You brag about every piece of legislation you care about.”

He added, “Start caring about cops, children, women, and everyday gun violence.”

Despite the overwhelming popularity of gun safety legislation, including among Republican voters, GOP leaders in Congress have refused to act on the issue and instead have yielded to the NRA, as has Trump.

Earlier this year, for example, despite previously pledging to implement universal background checks in the wake of several mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, Trump caved to NRA pressure, following a phone call with NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre.

Trump has bent to the will of the NRA in several other instances, including after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead. In that instance, Trump promised to address background checks as well, only to backtrack later.

The NRA has decided to negatively score votes in favor of the Violence Against Women Act, arguing that the threshold for removing guns from an abuser is too low. NRA scores have typically been used to secure election support for members of Congress, so supporting the provision could directly hurt a member’s reelection campaign.

In 2018, many of the NRA’s preferred candidates nonetheless lost their races to gun safety candidates, reflecting the pro-gun group’s loss of political stature and muscle.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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