Never mind all the praying; Colorado’s Team NRA long ago sold its soul

Saturday, 07 October 2017, 03:26:42 PM. The U.S. Congress has been utterly neutered by the National Rifle Association. Just look at where Colorado’s Team NRA stands on this issue.

never-mind-all-the-praying;-colorados-team-nra-long-ago-sold-its-soul photo 1Denver Post and Daily Camera file photosU.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., are two of the NRA’s biggest recipients of campaign support.

I gave up on gun control a long time ago. It’s not cynicism. People I love and respect work hard in the gun control movement, and I wish them success. I just don’t see a path forward.

Consider the simple suggestion that people who buy firearms at gun shows should be subject to background checks to determine if they are criminals, terrorists or under restraining orders before they assemble a collection of AK-47s and mountains of ammunition.

In Congress, it’s a non-starter.

When six people died and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a public meeting in Tucson in 2011, it was rejected.

When 26 people, including 20 little children, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, nothing happened.

Twelve slaughtered in Aurora, 2012; nine murdered in Charleston, S.C., 2015; 14 dead in San Bernardino, Calif., 2015; 49 killed in Orlando, Fla., 2016.

Still nothing.

After Rep. Steve Scalise was gravely injured when he was shot during a baseball practice last summer, did you hear outrage in Congress? Me neither.

The U.S. Congress has been utterly neutered by the National Rifle Association.

Just look at where Colorado’s Team NRA stands on this issue, according to figures
published in the Washington Post.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, proud recipient of $19,950 in NRA contributions, is devoted to the cause. “The Second Amendment rights of Americans are non-negotiable and are not open to infringement. I am unwavering in my support for the right to keep and bear arms.”

Rep. Scott Tipton, $18,950 in NRA contributions, is equally unabashed. “As a gun owner and a lifelong member of the NRA, I am committed to ensuring that neither the federal nor state government infringe on the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. I support legislation that increases concealed carry permits and will oppose any efforts to restrict law-abiding citizens from owning a firearm.”

Rep. Ken Buck, $7,950 in recent cash from the NRA, is “honored” to be a toady for the Gun Owners of America. “As district attorney of Weld County, I have a record of standing up for our right to bear arms. I will oppose any federal legislation to compile a database of gun owners or to further proscribe Americans’ freedoms under the Second Amendment.”

Sen. Cory Gardner, $5,950 in recent payments, says: “Despite a long, rich tradition, the Second Amendment has been repeatedly attacked and undermined. These misguided campaigns against a fundamental American right only seek to limit the freedoms of law-abiding citizens. … This individual right must not be eroded in any capacity.”

And Gardner delivers. Last year he voted against a bill that would close the gun show loophole and another that would have banned sales of guns to persons on the terrorist watch list.

Another of Colorado’s darlings of the NRA, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, recipient of $33,700 worth of NRA tokens of appreciation, remains circumspect, employing the utmost ambiguity in articulating his position. Of course, he represents Aurora, famous for hosting a massacre in a movie theater that featured some of the gun industry’s most profitable deadly weapons, so it’s hard to go all Doug Lamborn in his district and still get re-elected.

Coffman’s website states his flaccid position: “The right to keep and bear arms is protected under the Second Amendment … and it is vital to promote responsible gun ownership by keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable.”

He hasn’t taken any steps toward actually addressing irresponsible gun ownership, however, which has earned him straight A’s and gushing endorsements from the NRA.

So for all those who think that 59 dead and more than 500 people injured in Las Vegas last Sunday will make any difference, all I can say is I’m sorry, but you’re not paying attention.

It’s all too obvious that Team NRA considers the extraordinary body count a reasonable trade-off as long as the campaign contributions keep coming. In the past week, all its feckless members have offered are thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers.

For them, this is not a crisis. It’s an inconvenience.

The cost of doing business.

Diane Carman is a communications consultant and a regular columnist for The Denver Post.

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