In the wake of the most recent American mass shooting — this time at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX — Republican politicians, including President Donald Trump, are again offering their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.
They did the same after the shooting in Las Vegas claimed 58 lives. And after 50 people were killed during the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. And after 20 children and seven adults were killed during the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The list goes on.
But that always appears to be as far as GOP politicians are willing to go — even as Americans become fed up with the response after near-constant news of the gun deaths of their fellow citizens.
Perhaps it might have something to do with the National Rifle Association and similar lobbying groups. After all, they do spend millions of dollars almost exclusively on Republican political campaigns each year. In fact, the top 20 recipients of funds from firearms industry lobbying efforts are all Republican politicians. Every single one of them — and it wasn’t chump change by any means.
What's the going rate for a "thought" and a "prayer?"
The top 20 recipients of gun lobby money are all REPUBLICANS. pic.twitter.com/88EK0xhser
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) November 5, 2017
It should come as no surprise that President Donald Trump took in the most money in a presidential election cycle, at almost a million dollars. But all of the top seven politicians received more than $100,000. Lawmakers who ran in the GOP presidential primary also took in quite a haul — Ted Cruz is in the number two spot with more than $360,000 and Marco Rubio in third with more than $176,000.
Republicans control both houses of the legislature AND the Oval Office. They hold the keys to enacting gun control legislation that would go a long way towards ending the rampant mass shootings in the U.S.
But one of their main sources of campaign funding has seemingly drawn the line at thoughts and prayers, even though Studies show that most gun owners are in favor of gun law reform, but feel left out of the conversation in favor of the deep-pocketed NRA.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the NRA contributed more than $723,450 to House and Senate campaigns in the 2016 electoral cycles. It supported five Democratic congressmen and no Democratic senators, but supported 214 GOP congressmen and 23 GOP senators. And wherever it spent that cash, the NRA’s preferred candidate usually won.
And when the group isn’t supported candidates, it’s spending vast amounts of money on advertisements and campaigns that portray gun owners as being under constant threat and equate those who wish to see gun law reforms as those who want to strip away the Second Amendment.
Now, the relationship between the gun lobby’s support of the GOP and Republicans’ unwillingness to approach the issue of gun control is much more complex than just vote-buying. And eliminating that relationship might not necessarily lead to sweeping reform, but it’s become clear there is a significant admission fee to become part of the conversation.