The NRA has repeatedly opposed laws restricting gun violence in Maryland, but a would-be murderer who targeted Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris said the state's laws blocked him from getting a gun.
A would-be murderer who threatened the lives of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) said that Maryland's strict gun laws prevented him from obtaining a weapon. Yet some of the laws that may have saved two senators' lives are the same laws that the NRA has actively opposed or worked to strike down.
The 19-year-old Maryland resident, Nicholas Bukoski, has been charged with threatening Sanders and Harris and faces five felony counts.
But he said he could not get a gun to carry out the act, thanks in part to strict gun control laws in his state.
In the memo from prosecutors regarding his arrest, the man said he didn't have access to a handgun because his "parents won’t purchase a firearm based on his history and the strict gun laws in Maryland" and added he "probably won’t be able to get one."
The memo also noted he "was frustrated with liberals and very supportive of the current president."
It's not clear which specific law or laws might have stopped the would-be shooter. But Maryland has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and the NRA has repeatedly worked against the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature's efforts to pass them.
The NRA was part of a lawsuit opposing Maryland's ban on assault weapons that failed after reaching the Supreme Court. The NRA also recently announced it was joining a lawsuit to challenge Maryland's restrictions on concealed carry.
And in April, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a law allowing firearms to be taken away from a person who may be a danger to themselves or others. In March, however, the NRA urged its members to oppose that law's passage.
The would-be shooter sent his threatening messages to Sanders and Harris via Instagram on the same day of the March for Our Lives rally for gun safety.
In his message to Sanders, the man wrote, "You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when I use my second amendment protected firearm to rid the world of you, you stupid, crazy old fool."
In his threat to Harris, he said, "I am going to make sure you and your radical lefty friends never get back in power you will never run for president, because you won’t make it to see that day."
He also sent a message to the Washington, D.C. police: "I am intending to send the message that gun control, bomb control, or any other kind of weapons control will not stop attacks, it is an issue of the heart."
The NRA has often said gun control will not prevent crime, especially mass shootings.
Because Harris supports gun safety measures, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has described Harris and other Democrats as "opportunists" who "exploit tragedy for political gain."
Addressing the NRA's annual meeting in 2016, NRA board member Ted Nugent said Sanders should "eat shit and die."
If the NRA had its way, Maryland's gun laws would be far weaker — and perhaps a would-be killer would have had access to weapons to inflict harm on the politicians the NRA continues to attack.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.