The GOP Is A Willing Accomplice In America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

With each senseless shooting, Republicans prove they have chosen the gun lobby over the lives of their people

President Donald Trump stands with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, right, and Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action as he arrives for the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A government that fails to protect children has failed at its most basic purpose. A government that refuses to take action on an issue that is singular to their nation because of the lack of legislation has failed. A government that refuses to address the national security threat and the public health crisis that is gun violence has failed.

On Wednesday, our government failed the community of Parkland. It failed every child, teacher, and administrator at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — just like it failed the communities of Vegas, Aurora, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and so many others.

Time and time again, certain Republicans have watched these senseless tragedies occur, issued shallow statements offering their thoughts and prayers, and climbed right back into bed with the gun lobby. Each time our elected officials fail to take action on gun control because of the NRA-contributions funding their campaigns and lining their pockets, they reveal their true moral depravity.

Protecting Lives Should Not Be A Partisan Issue But Nevertheless, The GOP Persists

For it is astounding moral depravity that allows a lawmaker, who’s sworn duty is to care for their constituents, to favor the profits of gun manufacturers over children’s lives. And it is a despicable form of blasphemy that allows the same individual to couch their cowardly inaction in disingenuous prayers. The Bible teaches us that faith without works is dead, equatable to a body lacking a soul, and yet these politicians offer up soulless prayers as if such empty words will erase their complicity.

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The “works” enacted by the GOP and members of the Trump administration have proven exactly where they actually stand on gun violence. From making it easier for fugitives to buy guns, to promoting a bill to loosen restrictions on gun silencers, to gutting gun checks for people with mental illness, these lawmakers unabashedly stand with the gun lobby — even if that is against the well-being of the American people.

According to the American Public Health Association, gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. More than 30,000 people die of gun violence every year — which is a figure on par with the mortality rate of car crashes.

The difference? Motor vehicle mortality is treated as a public health crisis and funded as such. There are regulations enacted, studies pursued, and a constant search for how to make the everyday task of driving as safe as possible. And in a shocking turn of events — this works. There has been a significant decline in vehicle fatalities over the past few decades, with experts suggesting the trend may continue.

Funding for gun violence (yellow) in comparison to other leading causes of death — via NPR

So why don’t we apply the same common sense mentality to instances of gun violence — an event which should be significantly less prevalent than vehicle crashes, given the fact that an AR-15 is not a daily necessity like commuting?

We’ve got Congress to thank for that.

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In 1997, a provision was passed, with the strong backing of the NRA, which banned the CDC from doing anything to advocate for or promote gun control. The amendment was promoted by Republican Jay Dickey of Arkansas — who called himself the Hill’s “point man for the NRA.” It stated that:

“None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

At the same time, the exact amount previously spent on gun violence research was slashed from the CDC’s budget. It’s worth noting that in recent years, Dickey has expressed his regret for the consequences of his promotion of the aforementioned provision.

As it stands, the Center for Disease Control is effectively barred from researching a leading cause of premature death in this country. That is how utterly out of control the gun lobby’s hold on our politicians has become.

As far as being a security threat, these Republican lawmakers have proved that their “public safety” rhetoric only exists when it fits within their political agenda. They will rally about how a wall is needed to protect American citizens from undocumented immigrants while ignoring the highly more prevalent violence enacted by radicalized domestic terrorists.

Nevermind the statistics which point to the decreased likelihood that immigrants will commit crimes, and the increasingly apparent pattern of men with domestic violence backgrounds graduating to acts of mass violence within their communities. What good are facts if they don’t back one’s partisan talking points?

I struggle with articulating my thoughts after each one of these shootings because it seems so woefully obvious and repetitive. Children shouldn’t be killed because immoral politicians are blinded by greed and depravity. People shouldn’t be able to purchase weapons of war with greater ease than cold medicine. And politicians that refuse to take even the most minuscule action when confronted with a public health and safety crisis that no other developed nation faces, should be voted out of office with the largest turnout possible.

See, the gun lobby recognizes how fear can immobilize a person, and they use that to their advantage. Terror is quite a tool when wielded by an organization that cares not for lives or livelihood. And it is a tool wielded conspiratorially by politicians that base their legislation on the wants of those immoral interests that fund their re-election bids.

The best way to destroy fear? Taking action. Fear bets that you will be so terrified by the news, so immobilized by grief, that you will draw your curtains and do nothing. But that faith we were talking about earlier? That faith demands action. It demands that we put in the work. Don’t take my word for it? Listen to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

And that is the very least we can do for our children. If we, as a society, fail to protect our children, we have failed at the most astounding level.

I will forever be shocked that the politicians who deign to call themselves leaders display a willful ignorance when it comes to the first two basic concepts mentioned above. The third, however? We, the people, can actually change that.

We can exercise the moral duty that is our right to vote and remind these politicians that we hired them — not the NRA. They may have decided that they can live with their people being gunned down in schools, movie theaters, concerts, and churches — but we can decide differently.

We can decide that if our leaders and lawmakers won’t protect the most vulnerable in society, we will replace them with those who will.

Deconstructed // Guns / Nra / Politics