"Far too many lives have been sacrificed on the altar of the NRA's lies," says former Ohio attorney general Marc Dann.
Conceding that his refusal to stand up to the NRA as a public official was both a political and personal failure, Ohio's former Attorney General formally apologized for not doing the right thing while he was in office.
Writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Marc Dann came forward in the wake of the recent Florida school massacre to shed some light on the extraordinarily tight grip the NRA has on certain political factions around the country and to say he is sorry.
"I was in the pocket of the National Rifle Association," Dann admits.
"In making a deal with the devil to advance my political career, I had abandoned my principles and sold my soul," he admits.
Dann said as an officeholder he felt he had no choice when it came to supporting radical gun legislation and accepting the NRA's "blood money."
"While I didn't enter politics to be an advocate for the NRA, I quickly learned that unless I became one, I wouldn't be around to advocate for the issues I did care about," he writes. "So I made a devil's bargain with myself: To stay in office, I adopted pro-gun positions that made me uncomfortable."
A Democrat, Dann was elected to be Ohio's top law enforcement official in 2007. In his newspaper confession, Dann also revealed that his father killed himself with a gun in 2000. Today, Dann thinks tougher gun laws might have saved his father's life.
Yet in office, Dann still sided with the NRA over his mother's pleas, because he had "become too enamored with the trappings of my office, which I desperately wanted to keep."
Dann's personal rebuke gives additional context to the simmering gun debate that has exploded in recent weeks. And specifically, it helps explain why the GOP remains utterly paralyzed and refuses to take action on gun safety despite massive, overwhelming public support for sensible new gun laws in America. (In the decade since Dann served in office, most Democrats have distanced themselves from the NRA, with many now openly attacking it.)
It's why Trump himself quickly retreated on gun policy after huddling privately with top NRA officials last week.
According to McClatchy, the radical gun lobby group spent between $55 and $70 million in 2016 helping him get elected, a record-breaking amount even for the deep-pocketed group.
The FBI is reportedly investigating whether Russian operatives funneled millions of dollars to the group in 2016.
Albeit belatedly, Dann is brutally honest in his assessment of the gun lobby in America today, and the lasting harm it's doing to the country.
"Far too many lives have been sacrificed on the altar of the NRA's lies," he insists. "I should have told my constituents they were being duped by shills for a firearms industry that profits from fear-mongering and murder."