In September 2015, just three months after Donald J. Trump announced his bid for the presidency, he said, “Gun and magazine bans are a total failure.”
Since then, Trump has described himself as a staunch defender of Second Amendment rights and a close ally of the National Rifle Association (NRA). So, it did not surprise many Americans to learn the NRA spent $30 million in support of his 2016 campaign for president—more than any other candidate in history.
In the meantime, some Americans have continued to buy more guns while more innocents are being shot down in classrooms, on street corners, at concerts, in shopping malls, leading some to ask: Is there anywhere people feel safe?
Since taking office, the president has weakened background checks, backed away from Obama-era regulations designed to limit those with mental health issues from buying guns, and proposed grievous cuts to mental health—the exact opposite of what he claimed he wanted to fix during the recent listening session he hosted on the issue of gun violence, in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Rarely do the president’s words align with his actions.
In the wake of this recent massacre, many in the public are again demanding action on curtailing gun violence. Ideas range from banning assault weapons and bump stocks and restricting one’s ability to purchase unlimited rounds of ammunition to increasing funding for mental health, expanding background checks, enhancing school security, and arming teachers.
In addition, those in urban communities where more children are killed away from school than in classrooms have also raised their voices to remind America that their kids are being shot as well.
Black parents and children have cried, marched, petitioned, and prayed for change in this regard. The parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook have begged for change. Those who buried loved ones murdered in the Pulse Night Club have called for action, as have those shot-down in Las Vegas. Sadly, since Valentine’s Day, another chorus of victims have added their voices to this lamentation.
When will elected officials react to their cries? Act on their demands? What will it take for federal legislators to say “enough”?
On September 11, 2001, 2,996 Americans lost their lives in a terrorist attack that shocked the nation. Since that day, 95 people—an average of just under six per year—have died at the hands of terrorists on U.S. soil.
In contrast, between 2005 and 2015, gun violence resulted in the deaths of 280,024 men, women and children—an average of more than 28,000 victims per year. Every 40 days during the 10-year period, the nation watched as the number of individuals who were either shot to death or committed suicide equaled the number lost on 9-11.
Agreeably, even one violent death is too many, yet the nation has spent billions in the war against terror at home, fought two wars abroad, and taken countless legislative actions. Conversely, as the nation’s children are shot down in neighborhoods and schools, many legislators have refused to act, as they have taken political donations and remained silent or furthered the message of a key donor—the NRA.
A number of Congressional Representatives fromCalifornia are taking big donations from the NRA and acting in the interest of this powerful lobby rather than to protect America’s children. The only legislation they appear willing to support are initiatives in alignment with the interest of the NRA, like fortifying schools and arming teachers. Regardless of whether you agree with those ideas, these legislators have done nothing to keep kids and others from being shot down in their classrooms, on the streets of urban communities, in nightclubs, or during concerts.
Here is a complete list of U.S. House of Representatives from California supported by the NRA, and the amount of funding they received from the NRA in 2016. Let them know where you stand on this issue.
|McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA)||$42,000|
|Calvert, Ken (R-CA)||$30,466|
|Royce, Ed (R-CA)||$27,100|
|McClintock, Tom (R-CA)||$19,650|
|Valadao, David (R-CA)||$17,200|
|Issa, Darrell (R-CA)||$14,545|
|Denham, Jeff (R-CA)||$12,800|
|Walters, Mimi (R-CA)||$12,250|
|Hunter, Duncan D (R-CA)||$8,350|
|Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA)||$6,400|
|Knight, Steve (R-CA)||$4,700|
|LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA)||$4,500|
|Cook, Paul (R-CA)||$4,500|
|Nunes, Devin (R-CA)||$4,500|
As readers consider the inaction of these politicians on this issue and understand the magnitude of their bought loyalty to the NRA, the question is—how will that knowledge impact the way Californians vote in the coming elections? Others say it is past time for Americans to consider the businesses they patronize in light of how such businesses support the NRA and ask themselves whether they should spend their money elsewhere.
At the NRA’s Annual Meetings & Exhibits held in Georgia last year, more than 800 companies hosted exhibits there. In addition, a number of corporations offer NRA members discounts and other perks in exchange for their business. By proxy, these dollars support the stranglehold the NRA has on this nation.
Thursday, in the wake to the Florida school massacre, a few companies who previously offered perks to NRA members have shown the moral and political courage to sever those ties. They include three car- rental companies—Enterprise, Alamo and National; a bank—First National Bank of Omaha; and a cyber security firm—Symantec. Throughout the weekend the list of corporations cutting their marketing ties with the NRA has grown to include United Airlines, MetLife Inc., and others.
For your consideration, here is a partial list of corporations who continue to stand with the NRA: 4Ever Active, Allied Van Lines, American Cellars Wine Club/Vinesse, Americap, Avis, Best Western, Budget, Celerant Technologyither, eHealthInsurance, Emergency Assistance Plus, FedEx, Globalinx, GoHealth Insurance, Harland Clarke, Hertz, Holiday Card Center, Insperity/HR Tools, Life Insurance Central, LifeLine Screening, LifeLock, ManageUrID, Medical Concierge Network, ND Industries, North American Van Lines, Outdoor Affinity, Payment Alliance International, Rescue 360, SIRVA, SimpliSafe, Smartwaiver, Sportsmans Bench Products, Staples Advantage (Corporate Express), Starkey Hearing Technologies, Teladoc, TN Marketing L.L.C, TrueCar, Wild Apricot, and Wyndham Hotel Group.
Contact President Trump and let him know where you stand on this important issue by filling out an online contact form at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or by calling the White House switchboard at (202) 456-1414 or the comments line at (202) 456-1111.
If your congressman is among those taking contributions from the NRA, let him/her know where you stand https://www.house.gov/representatives.
Stephanie Williams, Features Writer
Stephanie E. Williams is an award winning investigative reporter, editor and activist who has contributed to several Inland Empire publications. Williams spent more than thirty years as a middle-manager in the telecommunications industry before retiring to pursue her passion as a reporter and non-fiction writer. Beyond writing, Williams’ personal interests include stone-carving, drumming and sculpting.