Local news to GOP senators: Prove you aren't 'owned' by the NRA


The NRA has donated more than $11 million to North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, and both have A+ ratings from the group.

After the horrific mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, a local news station in North Carolina wants to know if the state's two Republican senators will stand up to the NRA.

"Do something!" the Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) wrote in a Monday editorial, urging Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis to take swift decisive action to enact gun safety legislation.

"Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis need to let the North Carolinians know who ranks at the top of their priority list," the CBC editorial urged. Burr has received just shy of $7 million from the NRA while Tillis has raked in $4.4 million from the group opposed to popular, commonsense gun safety legislation.

Tillis, who faces a tough reelection race in 2020, has an A+ rating from the NRA, which is " the highest possible rating and is reserved for legislators with an excellent voting record on critical NRA issues." Burr also has an A+ rating.

"If their priority is the people of the state they represent, they must be in the forefront of demanding the U.S. Senate take up and pass two bills the House of Representatives passed last February — the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act," the CBC editorial advised.

For more than 160 days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has allowed both bills to sit on his desk and collect dust rather than allow the Senate to vote on them. Americans — including Republicans and even gun owners — overwhelmingly support action to reduce gun violence, yet McConnell remains "the chief impediment to the U.S. House-passed proposals," according to the CBC editorial.

In past years, Tillis has loudly demanded the Senate skip its August recess to continue working. But in the wake of the recent mass shootings, Tillis has remained silent, refusing to call for McConnell to bring the Senate back and immediately address the nation's gun violence epidemic.

In addition to local news organizations pushing Tillis and Burr to take action, a coalition of mayors from across the country as well as police chiefs have called on Republicans to finally pass gun safety legislation.

In addressing both Burr and Tillis, the CBC editorial urged them both to "show North Carolina voters you aren't owned by the special interest NRA," and to "take a stand and lead the effort to pass these bills."

After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, both Burr and Tillis resisted pressure to pass substantive gun safety legislation.

After the recent mass shootings that claimed the lives of 31 people, it remains to be seen whether Burr and Tillis will be moved by editorials, mayors, police chiefs, and public sentiment — or whether they will continue to stay loyal to their NRA financiers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.