Editorial: NRA = No Regulations Allowed

by Randy Paulson, Copy Editor

Exactly one year ago Wednesday, Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States. One of the main tenets of his platform was a call for “law and order” in regard to violent crime.

But what has our commander-in-chief actually done, either by himself or in cooperation with Congress, to bring about law and order in the face of the multiple mass shootings that have taken place within the past year?

During his campaign, the country experienced its worst mass shooting at the time in Orlando, Florida.

Trump’s response? On Twitter, he first congratulated himself on being right about “radical Islamic terrorism,” said he wants “toughness and vigilance” and then exclaimed, “We must be smart!”

Nothing about gun control.

In response to the Las Vegas shooting (the nation’s newest worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history), the president tweeted out his “warmest condolences to the victims and families” affected by the attack. When later asked about gun control on Oct. 4, Trump said, “We’re not going to talk about that today.”

Again, nothing about gun control.

And now, after the most recent, high-profile mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Trump said the incident was a “mental health problem at the highest level” and “not a guns situation.”

In the meantime, Trump has done nothing to constructively prevent any similar shootings from occurring. In fact, according to a Nov. 6 NBC News article, Trump even signed a bill in February that repealed a law from the Obama administration that would make it harder for individuals with mental health problems to buy guns.

And yet here he is blaming this latest shooting on mental health problems. Not guns.

So, why hasn’t the president or Congress taken any action to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands?

The answer seems to be because the gun industry and gun lobby won’t let them.

According to an Oct. 3 article published in The Atlantic, after mass shootings occur, gun sales generally go up for a number of reasons. For example, people may feel buy guns to protect themselves from further violence. They may also fear stricter gun laws will follow mass shootings and decide to stock up while they can.

The National Rifle Association also reaps enormous financial benefits from mass shootings. On April 15, 2013, The Guardian reported that the NRA raised about $2.7 million in donations in the months following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Following the Las Vegas shooting, which killed more than 50 people, The Huffington Post reported the NRA has not yet disclosed how much it has made in donations (but we can reasonably predict it will be a sizable amount).

Three days after the Las Vegas shooting, The New York Times published a list of the top 10 recipients of NRA funding in both the U.S. House and Senate, all of whom were Republicans.

This means the lawmakers of the party currently in control of the federal government are in the pocket of an organization that fights against gun regulations tooth and nail.

Interestingly, the seventh highest-ranked NRA recipient in the Senate is Iowa’s very own Joni Ernst, who received over $3 million from the NRA over the course of her career. In the House, the third highest-ranked recipient is Iowa’s David Young, who has received over $700,000. Young represents Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Indianola.

And according to OpenSecrets.org, which investigates political funding, the NRA pumped more than $30 million into Trump’s campaign.

Long story short: Until there comes a time when the NRA loosens its stranglehold on our election process, it’s safe to say calls for increased “law and order” regarding gun violence will continue to ring just as hollow as calls for increased gun control.