On June 12, 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Since then, the public and lawmakers alike have been screaming for more gun control in order to improve background checks and also keep people on suspected terrorist lists from obtaining weapons like the one used in this tragic attack.
Sen. Chris Murphy filibustered for an epic 15 hours to get a vote and Democrats later held a sit-in to force a vote before Republicans took the House back and called a recess until July 5th.
It’s no secret that the NRA contributions to Republican campaigns is playing a big part in what’s happening (or not happening) in Washington right now. The NRA will support any candidate that furthers their interests and have done so to the tune of over $30 million. But what is truly shocking is how much campaign money members of Congress have used to buy guns, ammo and attend hunts, gun shows, and other gun related events.
According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan nonprofit, since 2014, 13 members of Congress have spent a combined $25,526 from their campaign funds. CREW reported that “firearms purchases by federal candidates who lost, as well as by state-level politicians and local party committees and PACs not included in the total tally” so that number is almost certainly much higher.
Politicians purchase firearms for many reasons, but they mainly use them as fundraising tools. Huffington Post reports:
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) last year spent more than a $1,300 on firearms autographed by gun fans, including musician and NRA board member Ted Nugent and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The weapons were later raffled off.
Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) spent $2,750 in October at a Houston gun club, which provided event space, gun rental and ammunition for a campaign appearance.
Several other Congress members have used this seemingly popular money raising gimmick: “Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Jason Smith (R-Ill.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.), Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).”
I find it disturbing that Republicans constantly berate Hillary Clinton’s pant suit spending, but it’s suddenly acceptable for them to spend campaign funds on guns? And then later raffle them off or use them as giveaways? How do they know these weapons aren’t falling into the wrong hands?? They DON’T know and that’s truly frightening. There is something seriously wrong with this picture!
Featured Image Via Getty Images/Scott Olson