AP Photo/Evan Vucci
- President Donald Trump, various GOP leaders, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) released statements in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, expressing their sympathies following brutal bloodshed.
- Mass shootings have become far too common in the US — a gunman shot up the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California just last week.
- The president stressed how numerous factors, such as video games, mental illness, and white supremacy, were to blame for the most recent spate of violence during Monday remarks.
- However, while politicians point to remedies like addressing mental illness and violent video games, they continue to remain quiet about proposing stricter laws to actually address gun violence.
- In June, amid mounting pressure from the NRA’s Texas branch, Texas actually loosened its existing gun laws.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) was quick to express its "deepest sympathies" on Sunday, in the wake of two mass shootings that killed more than 30 people and left the country reeling.
There have been 255 mass shootings in 2019 alone. Just last week, a gunman shot up the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California, killing three people. In late May, a shooter opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, killing 12 people.
The list of shootings that have plagued this country are extensive: One person dead at a Jewish synagogue in Poway, California; 12 people at a country bar in Thousand Oaks, California; 11 people at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh; 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; 58 people at an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas; 17 killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida; 49 at a night club in Orlando, Florida; nine at a church in Charleston, South Carolina; 12 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; 27 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.
In the wake of this weekend’s horrific shootings, politicians took to social media to condemn the violence and express their thoughts and prayers. Trump described the shootings as "terrible," in a Saturday tweet, adding: "God be with you all!"
A slew of politicians shared similar sentiments.
Both the shooting in El Paso and the shooting in Dayton involved assault-style rapid-fire weapons. In a statement about the shootings, the powerful gun lobby made sure to emphasize that "the NRA is committed to the safe and lawful use of firearms by those exercising their Second Amendment freedoms. We will not participate in the politicizing of these tragedies but, as always, we will work in good faith to pursue real solutions that protect us all from people who commit these horrific acts."
While giving remarks on Monday, President Trump stressed how numerous factors, such as video games, mental illness, and racist hate, were to blame for the most recent spate of violence. Following that, the NRA said they welcomed "the president’s call to address the root causes of the horrific acts of violence that have occurred in our country."
‘Let’s be clear: This is not about mental health, it’s not about video games, it’s not about movies. Those are all NRA talking points.’
However, while the president, as well as other GOP leaders, expressed their condolences following these latest deadly attacks — others, like Senator Bernie Sanders, criticized GOP leadership for being "more concerned about pleasing the NRA than listening to the vast majority of the American people."
"Let’s be clear: This is not about mental health, it’s not about video games, it’s not about movies. Those are all NRA talking points," added John Feinblatt, president of the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, in an interview with the New York Times. "This is about easy access to guns."
As Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik noted, and amid mounting pressure from the NRA’s Texas branch, Texas actually loosened existing gun laws in June. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Tara Mica, the regional lobbyist for the NRA, deemed the legislative session "one of the most successful sessions we’ve had since I’ve been doing this."
The passed legislation includes bills making it easier to carry guns in places such as churches, schools, and even disaster zones; that provide a legal defense for License To Carry holders who unknowingly enter establishments that prohibit guns; and that closes loopholes in the state’s "wrongful exclusion" law that had allowed local government agencies to restrict License To Carry holders in government buildings. The GOP-backed legislation — signed into law by Texas governor Greg Abbott — also prevents a ban on bump stocks. In total, ten measures weakening gun laws were passed.
Weeks after the passage of those bills, senseless tragedy struck El Paso.
"The reason that the needle hasn’t moved in America’s response to these tragedies is the NRA’s money and the cowardice of politicians who take it," Hiltzik wrote. "Despite its current administrative turmoil, the NRA still holds the butcher’s bill for filling politicians’ guts with largess over the years."
Trump, the NRA, and scores of other politicians have expressed sympathy following this weekend’s mass shootings. But, as the country once again begins the painstaking process of trying to heal, a question looms large:
What happens now?
- Read more:
- ‘We are not helpless here’: Former President Barack Obama made a rare public statement calling for action on gun violence after mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton
- The Trump campaign’s Facebook ads promoting ‘invasion’ rhetoric are similar to what the El Paso shooting suspect wrote
- An El Paso congresswoman says Trump isn’t welcome in her community following a mass shooting that left 20 dead
- The NRA issued a statement supporting Trump’s call to focus on mental illness to reduce gun violence after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton
- Trump said mentally ill individuals should be ‘involuntarily confined’ if necessary to prevent mass shootings, despite research showing a lack of connection between mental illness and gun violence
- Trump incorrectly blames ‘gruesome video games’ and ‘mentally ill monsters’ for mass violence while commenting on 2 mass shootings