"NRA-Funded Congressmen Leading The Charge Against Gun Violence Prevention"
Since the Federal Elections Commission began tracking campaign contributions, the NRA Political Victory Fund (the National Rifle Association’s political action committee) has distributed more than $19 million to federal candidates. The top career recipients of that money who are currently in the U.S. House have been, unsurprisingly, among the most vocal opponents of any new gun violence prevention legislation advanced in the aftermath of the school shooting at Newton, Connecticut.
A ThinkProgress analysis of data from Political MoneyLine reveals that the top 12 House beneficiaries of NRA money include 10 Republicans and two Democrats. While neither of the two Democrats, Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and John Dingell (D-MI) have embraced President Obama’s proposals for bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, both have at least expressed an openness to requiring criminal background checks before all gun purchases. The Republicans, however, have either led the charge against any new gun restrictions or have avoided taking any position. All 10 have received an “A” or “A+” rating from the NRA.
1. REP. DON YOUNG (R-AK) — AT LEAST $107,425
Young said last month, “I have serious concerns with the statements made today by President Obama and take issue with the President’s call for banning aesthetically altered rifles and shotguns and certain magazines. This is a dangerous limitation on a family’s ability to defend itself in the event they’re threatened. Perhaps in cities where the police response time tends to be more rapid, it is easy to forget how important a firearm is to keeping loved ones safe. However, in rural America where law enforcement is many miles away, a semi-automatic weapon could mean the difference between life and death.”
2. REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH) — AT LEAST $65,950
Chabot said last month, “I have serious concerns regarding many of the president’s gun control proposals. Further, I am disturbed the White House bypassed the American peoples’ elected representatives in Congress and implemented much of their agenda by executive order.”
3. REP. PETE SESSIONS (R-TX) — AT LEAST $64,000
Sessions said last month, “Going forward, I will continue to tirelessly defend Americans’ right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. In doing so, I will fight against the President’s unrelenting attempts to bypass Congress and further erode our Constitution.”
4. REP. LEE TERRY (R-NE) — AT LEAST $59,650
Terry said in a January radio interview, “We’ve seen several assaults on the constitution. This is just another one.” He said President Obama’s efforts are “unconstitutional,” adding “These aren’t going to curb the real issue. The real issue is someone with mental health issues gets a gun… these aren’t going to solve that problem… How many bullets you have in a magazine ultimately doesn’t solve any problem.”
5. REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA) — AT LEAST $57,250
Goodlatte, who chairs the House Committee on the Judiciary, told CQ Roll Call in December that he does not favor tightening controls on firearms. “We’re going to take a look at what happened there and what can be done to help avoid it in the future, but gun control is not going to be something that I would support,” he said. Any gun violence prevention measures would likely require Judiciary Committee approval.
6. REP. JOE BARTON (R-TX) — AT LEAST $57,248
Barton said last month, “The Obama Administration’s plan amounts to a power grab. I will fight any legislation that further restricts qualified owners’ access to guns. I am also against the President using executive orders to circumvent the will of the people and infringe on the constitutional rights of my constituents. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and when I took my oath of office I swore to defend the Constitution. I believe that violent crime must be reduced, but I will not support measures that infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
7. REP. HAL ROGERS (R-KY) — AT LEAST $51,725
Rogers has apparently said little publicly since Sandy Hook, but did say in December, “As we search for understanding and gain minute-by-minute explanations of how an unfathomable tragedy of this magnitude occurred, we must be judicious in our response.”
8. REP. TOM LATHAM (R-IA) — AT LEAST $49,750
Latham said last month, “while I always support having a vigorous and thorough debate on the important issues facing our nation, I continue to believe that we must ensure any Congressional or executive action pertaining to firearm regulations should not erode the rights we are guaranteed in our Constitution.“
9. REP. KEN CALVERT (R-CA) — AT LEAST $48,400
Calvert has reportedly refused to even discuss gun violence prevention until a full investigation of the Newtown shootings is completed.
10. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH) — AT LEAST $47,800
Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has dismissed calls for quick House action on gun violence. “When the vice president’s recommendations come forward, we’ll certainly take them into consideration,” he said in December, “but at this point I think our hearts and souls ought to be to think about those victims in this horrible tragedy.”
After receiving more than $600,000 total over the years from the organization, expect these ten Republicans to be among the fiercest opponents of even the most commonsense measures to prevent future tragedy.