THE BLOG
12/27/2012 08:45 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2013

Forget Wayne LaPierre's 'Monsters': For Gun Control, Focus on NRA Financed Members of Congress

NRA Press Conference Blames "Monsters," Calls for Guns in Schools

Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is beyond hard-right. This industry shill called for armed guards in all American schools. He's blaming "monsters" for the recent spate of mass murders, including the recent massacre of children in Newtown, Connecticut. It's the monsters, not the guns, folks! It's the copycat mass murderers wanting their "moment of fame" and the "national media machine" that feeds their egos, that's who is to blame.

Many people anticipated that the NRA would make an overture for gun control, after they announced that a major statement would be forthcoming following complete silence in the face of the deaths of 27 people in Newtown. Instead, the NRA in a press conference blamed everyone and anyone other than themselves and the nation's saturation by firearms. La Pierre blamed the mentally ill, rapists, gang members and killers who "spread like cancer across the nation." "A dirty little truth," he added, is that the entertainment industry is to blame for creating a culture of violence.

There won't be any important breakthrough from this industry front-man. His breathtaking proposal to arm schools spells more money for the NRA paymasters, the gun manufacturers, firearm accessories makers and middlemen. His vision: an armed society is a safe society. Literally.

If you don't agree, then find a way to speak up in the coming months. For meaningful gun violence prevention legislation to be enacted, concerned citizens will have to break the bond between NRA funding and Congressional votes.

If you care about making sure American kids are safe from gun violence, and you don't want your children going to school with armed guards at every turn, if you want to see a drop in our nation's gun death toll of 34 gun-related deaths on average per day, then pressure Congress. Specifically, pressure Republican members of the House of Representatives who take campaign money from the NRA.

How? Scour your contact list -- for old roommates (Virginia, Kentucky, Texas) retired relatives (North Carolina and Arizona), bankers-turned-ski-bums (Colorado) -- anyone who lives in pro-gun states and cajole, beg, demand, persuade those folks to pick up the phone and call their pro-gun Congressmen, send letters to their district offices, and make the argument that this is the time for meaningful firearms regulation in America, and not for putting guns in schools.

And even if you live in liberal Brooklyn or Boston, you too can send them a letter or make a call. Send them a Christmas card, and beneath the picture of Santa and the Peace on Earth messages, say you want, at the minimum:
  • a ban on a broad category of assault weapons, without the loopholes of the previous regulations
  • a ban on ammunition clips used in mass killings
  • a new trafficking statute with penalties for "straw purchases"
  • all gun sales to be subject to an instant background check.

Toss in this factoid, from an organization called Media Matters: Of "nearly $18 million the NRA poured into the 2012 elections, over 95 percent was spent on races where the NRA-backed candidate lost."

Write to those who took the most from the gun lobby in this last election cycle: Jim Renacci of Ohio, Steve Fincher of Tennessee, Mike Coffman from Colorado, Rick Berg from North Carolina, John Carter from Texas and Raul Labrador from Idaho.

How Much Is A Vote Worth? Much Feared NRA Contributions Close to Peanuts

In 2012, the NRA contributed $18 million to election campaigns both to support allies and defeat their enemies.

But NRA contributions to the 2012 election campaigns of members of the House of Representatives -- ranging from a few hundred dollars to just a few who got about $10,000 --show just how cheap a vote can be, if you believe that money talks in Congress.

In the 2012 House elections, among those who won, Republican Jim Renacci got the most NRA money, $10,245 from the NRA and NRA PACs, as reported by the nonprofit Open Secrets.

Next in line, with a $9,900 NRA contribution, was Steve Fincher, a gospel-singing businessman Tea Party pol who arrived in Congress in 2011.

Fewer than ten representatives elected or re-elected in 2012 received between $6,000 and $8,500 from the NRA. The list includes a House member from Arizona, where fellow Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot this year: Mike Ross. It also includes Mike Coffman from Colorado, Eric Cantor from Virginia and John Carter from Texas and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.

Representatives Paul Gosar of Arizona, Steve King from Iowa, Hal Rogers from Kentucky, and Mike Simpson from Idaho along with John Runyan of New Jersey took between $5,000 and $6,000 each in NRA funds.

Twenty-five Republican members of the House who won reelection got $2,500 or less from the NRA.

You can see the full list of NRA funded candidates at Open Secrets.

Don't Arm the Schools! Instead, Show Up, Turn Out, Join Be Seen and Heard to Support Obama's Initiative

President Obama is going to introduce new legislation to reduce gun violence. He's serious about it; no vice president in living memory has been charged with coming up with a plan of action on this topic, as Joe Biden was this week.

The NRA's call for arming America's schools is outrageous.

If you have children or grandchildren, plan to have a family some day and don't like the idea of armed teachers in every school in America, then join in this political fight. Because fight it is.

You can hook up with DemandAPlan, a project of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign and others.

Everyone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, who's been held up with a gun, who has feared for their teenagers safety, or who has been traumatized by losing a colleague, a friend, a classmate to a firearm-related homicide, suicide or accident: it's time to speak up.

If, after the Newtown tragedy, you want to see passage of the president's gun safety legislation in the next term -- and hopefully it will be strong -- put these NRA-funded House Republicans in your cross-hairs of a campaign to make them think twice about ignoring increasingly powerful public demand for better gun control.

But now that the NRA has "responded" to the Newtown killings, don't underestimate the opposition: if you want stronger federal regulation of guns in America, you'll have to stand up and be counted. Write those NRA-funded Congressmen a letter -- and spread the word.

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