As the smoke clears from yet another horrific mass shooting, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his fellow National Rifle Association cronies in Congress have made it clear they have no intention of passing any kind of reasonable gun reform legislation – including closing a loop-hole that allows people on the FBI’s no-fly list for suspected terrorists to buy deadly weapons.
While attempting to frame the wholesale murder of American citizens as a “mental health” crisis, Ryan refused to consider barring suspected terrorists from purchasing weapons, because “government officials put people on such lists without any due legal process and so denying those listed the right to bear arms would violate their rights.”
Never mind the hypocrisy of fact that multiple Republican presidential candidates have endorsed putting American Muslims in a database with no legal process; it is an absolutely astonishing contradiction between the right-wing’s delusional paranoia over the terror threats that they see in the faces of Syrian women and children and their obstinate refusal to deal with the white terrorists that murder us in our schools, in hospitals, in the workplace. As soon as they found out that the San Bernardino shooters were Muslim, FOX and the right-wing echo chamber began howling for action against radical Islam; when a Christian extremist walked into a Colorado Planned Parenthood and murdered three people, including a cop and a veteran, we heard only silence from the very same religious ideologues who have been inciting violence against the beloved healthcare provider. Let alone any action to restrict gun ownership, Republicans won’t even agree to pass legislation that would mildly inconvenience gun owners.
Or is it just a knee-jerk reaction to President Obama’s call for the same measure in the wake of the nation’s 355th mass shooting this year (the second that same day)? Congressional Republicans have spent the last six years making it their mission to oppose President Obama on every action he tries to take, even if it is a commonsense and rational proposal that should be relatively uncontroversial. But then again, considering that 90% of Americans want systematic background checks to close loopholes like this, it’s clear that John Boehner’s replacement has every intention of following in his predecessor’s footprints – to callously disregard the opinions and well-being of the constituents that you supposedly represent in favor of those filling your pockets and election war-chests.
Opinion columnist and former 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.