Nevada Democratic Senator, Harry Reid, is taking a stand against dangerous Republican policies on gun control. He has made it unquestionably clear that he is anti-gun violence, bashing his conservative colleagues “puppets of the NRA” and letting the public know that the government must intervene to restrict the reckless proliferation of firearms in our communities. The staunch supporter of background checks for gun purchases has begun to implore fellow Senators in order to effect change.
“I’ve started to reach out to senators in talking about what can be done to advance the cause of background checks while Republicans are in charge for the next year or so,” the Democratic leader said. “One thing is clear, to pass background checks, we need Republicans to stop acting as puppets of the [National Rifle Association].”
His statements come in the aftermath of the Oregon school shooting, still fresh in the public psyche. It is a contentious moment for pro-NRA Republicans, who are demonstrating their insolence towards this issue; how many more shootings are the Republicans going to allow to happen? Reid echoed this on the senate floor, as he read the names of the victims, saying, though “our hearts are broken for the families and loved ones, the victims and for the whole community … a broken heart really isn’t enough, is it?”
The time has come to do something; the Democrats realize this and are stepping up to the plate, calling for new gun control legislation, as they have after every massacre. Though any action would no doubt face an uphill battle, or more literally, a conservative wall. In 2013, a proposal to expand background checks did not win the required 60 votes; it was denied at just 54 votes, which were all cast by Democrats—and the situation has gotten worse as some of those seats have been lost to the right.
Thankfully, Reid is at bat with the Republicans who are trying to quietly dodge the gun reform issue. He cut into the core of their values saying, “lawmakers all around this country pander to the extreme right-wing lobby that leaves Americans vulnerable to these attacks. The realities of gun violence is not only shocking, it’s pathetic,” he continued. “Let’s not mince words about who would stop us from passing background checks: Republicans that wage a right-wing ideological crusade fashioned by the NRA and the Gun Owners of America. These two organizations are in a scramble to see who can raise the most money.”
This is not Reid’s first attempt to secure gun reform; he campaigned Congress to pass a background check bill following the racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C. It is the total lack of action from Republicans on this issue that is most disturbing. Reid hit the nail on the head by calling Republicans “NRA puppets”. They are silent, refusing to stand up for the protection of the nation’s citizens, instead they have sided with the economic lobby of the NRA; a body that supports guns and therefore the right to kill. This is a telling fact; Republicans would rather people shoot each other in mass (as they will continue to do) then stand up to their lobby and ensure that Americans can go to school, or a movie theater, or anywhere else without the fear of being murdered.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.