“Hate and Oppression of Any Group Impacts Us All”

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  • Scott Swenson, Dale Eisman
Statement by Karen Hobert Flynn, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Programs

Our hearts are broken today after the tragic mass shooting in Orlando early Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and their loved ones. In this moment, we also stand with the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Questioning communities who were targeted in this tragic event. We know that hate and oppression of any group impacts us all.

Mass shootings and gun violence generally have reached epidemic proportions in America. People of good will may disagree about what we can do to prevent them, but that debate surely is one we should be having in this election year.

The power of big money in our politics has largely choked off that discussion however.

In the 2014 midterm elections, the National Rifle Association spent more than $30 million on congressional and senatorial races and lobbying. The vast majority of its political spending financed TV ads; nearly half came from the NRA’s nonprofit arm, which keeps its donors secret. And because about $26 million of the NRA’s spending was for “independent expenditures,” the group was unconstrained by the limits federal law puts on direct donations to candidates.

A 2013 effort in Congress to pass a bipartisan gun control law mandating background checks failed because a minority of senators filibustered the bill.  Despite the mass shooting of first graders in Newtown, CT – near where I live — five months earlier, the NRA opposed the bill and threatened to target any senators who voted for it.

That’s no way to run a democracy.

As we come together as a nation to grieve over this horrific event, Common Cause stands with all Americans who are committed to reforming our political system so the power of the people far outweighs that of wealthy special interests. Together, we can build a 21st Century democracy where the voices and votes of everyday Americans, not special interest lobbyists, set the priorities.