Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
As our nation grieves back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend, Common Cause calls attention to the increasing connections between recent mass killings in which the shooters claim, or are found to have been part of, fringe white supremacist groups.
Not all mass killings in America are associated with white supremacy but as acts of domestic terrorism they all serve the same purpose – slaughtering innocent people in senseless violence.
In these crisis moments, many leaders steered the nation’s thoughts toward the best of who we are with inclusive language that didn’t ignore our history, but made clear Americans choose to be on the right side of history, to be more inclusive and extend the promise of democracy to more and more people – even as we recognize the forces use fear and intimidation to oppress.
Today, President Trump spoke to the nation in the wake of two more tragic shootings. His carefully crafted message condemned racism, bigotry, and white supremacy, but completely ignored the role his own tweets, chants at rallies and speeches have played in provoking hatred and violence.
There can be no doubt that America has a gun problem.
At the heart of every mass shooting in America since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, is a weapon of war used by one civilian to kill many more. The commercial availability of military assault rifles to ordinary consumers is brought to you by America’s gun manufacturers using the National Rifle Association as a front group, or “de facto trade association” according to an NPR report. The gun manufacturers spend tens of millions of dollars each year in lobbying, campaign contributions, independent expenditure campaigns, and marketing that we know about. Even more “secret money” comes through the NRA’s Institute for Legal Action that is not required to release its donors.
There can be no doubt that America has a money-in-politics problem.
There can be no doubt that America’s money-in politics problem throws our system out of balance and gives a few gun manufacturers the ability to prevent Congress and many state legislatures from enacting common sense legislation restricting access to guns despite consistently high levels of support in public opinion polls, including from a majority of NRA rank-and-file members.
Americans are tired of the carnage, the excuses, the rhetoric, and the politics of obstruction. It is time for action to reduce money’s influence on politics so that common sense solutions that enjoy popular support among the people can prevail over big money and the lobbyists that come with it.