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Richard Painter Headshot

U.S. Senate Succumbs to NRA Protection Racket: Filibuster Assures Easy Access to Guns for Criminals, Mentally Ill People and Terrorists

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The news is here.

And more on the NRA protection racket here.

It does not matter than an overwhelming majority of voters -- including many Republican voters -- support requiring sanity and criminal background checks on people purchasing guns over the Internet and at gun shows. It does not matter that mothers and fathers of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School strenuously lobbied for the bill. It does not matter that the bill had the support of the president of the United States. The president -- who makes promises of campaign finance reform while raising money for his own independent political expenditures -- is no match for gun manufacturers and dealers backing the NRA. The mothers and fathers of the Sandy Hook victims have no experience with political fundraising, so one wonders why they even went to Washington.

The NRA is happy with this state of affairs. The president says he is unhappy, but perhaps this loss will rejuvenate his own fundraising endeavors.

Many taxpayers are tired of supporting a government that spends enormous amounts of money but can't take the most basic steps to protect them and their children from harm. Voters should insist that a small portion what each taxpayer sends to the government (the first few hundred dollars for each taxpayer) be used to support campaigns of candidates chosen by the taxpayer (with or without prior approval of the NRA or other big money groups). Meaningful citizen participation in campaign finance is needed for a representative democracy to work. As they said in Boston back in the 1770's, "taxation without representation" is no way to run a government.

I am pleased to join Lawrence Lessig, Trevor Potter and other concerned citizens to discuss these issues at a conference in San Francisco this Saturday (open to the public).