The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a complete mess as an organization, with story after story detailing lavish spending and misuse of funds from numerous top NRA officials. Here in Colorado, Republicans have increasingly been voicing their concerns with the bullying political tactics of gun-loving groups like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).
But as the Washington Post reports, it’s clear that the gun lobby still has control of the Republican Party:
Barely more than 90 minutes after it convened a special session called by the Democratic governor to debate gun legislation, the GOP-controlled General Assembly abruptly adjourned without taking action, stunning hundreds of gun control activists and gun rights protesters who had packed the Capitol. [Pols emphasis]…
“The call for this session was premature,” House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) told reporters moments after adjourning. He accused Northam of “an election-year stunt,” and said the topic of gun violence needs to be more thoroughly studied before taking action.
“The Republicans in this state are totally controlled—I mean 100 percent – controlled by the National Rifle Association.”
— Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax)
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called the special session after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead on May 31. It appeared as though some Republican lawmakers were actually interested in discussing gun safety until another local gun group started screeching at them:
Before adjourning, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City) pulled a bill he had filed on Monday that seemed to suggest Republicans might find some common ground with Democrats. His bill would have banned firearms from local government buildings around the state and make any violation a felony. State law now bans guns only in courthouses, and a violation is a misdemeanor.
But Norment faced an intense backlash from members of his own party and the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights group, and moments after Tuesday’s session began, he announced he was pulling the bill. [Pols emphasis]
Virginia Republicans aren’t going to do squat about gun safety, just as a GOP Senate and a Republican-controlled White House won’t act on it, either. This story in “The Onion” is clearly satirical — but it’s not entirely wrong, either.
Voters increasingly understand that Republicans won’t budge on gun safety, so they are taking it upon themselves to speak at the ballot box; if you don’t think this is part of the reason Colorado Democrats have been so successful in recent elections, then you haven’t been paying attention. While most of us will have to wait until November 2020, voters in Virginia will have their chance to voice their opinions when all 140 state legislative seats are on the ballot this fall.
As Richmond Mayor Lavar Stoney said today: “There will be a day of reckoning. If not today, then it will be at the ballot box in November.”