California GOP offers ‘thoughts and prayers’ but no action on gun violence

Scene outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, FL

Southern California Republicans take money from the NRA and block legislation that could keep children safer.

Children hid under their desks as bullets reigned down in their high school, ending lives and terrorizing a community. At least 17 people are dead, according to the Broward sheriff’s office, and more than a dozen were injured in the 18th school shooting in the United States this year, which took place in Parkland, Florida.

In response, Southern California Republicans offered empty “thoughts and prayers” via social media — just a year after they voted to roll back gun protections.

Southern California Republicans, who routinely take money from the gun lobby, have voting records that align squarely with the opinions of Trump rather than those of most Americans.

Republicans in Congress, at the behest of Trump, took action on guns soon after Trump was sworn in. In February 2017, Southern California Reps. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) joined a Republican majority to vote in favor of “rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.”

But the overwhelming majority of Americans support common sense measures on guns. According to an NPR/Ipsos poll, “Eight-in-10 Americans told the pollsters they favor bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and ‘bump stocks,’ an accessory used by the Las Vegas shooter that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like an automatic weapon.” The same percentage favor a federal data base to track gun sales.

While they aren’t listening to the majority of Americans, Southern California Republicans running for re-election are listening to those who fund their campaigns. Knight has accepted $15,000 in campaign cash from the gun lobby. Walters has taken $14,000, and Rohrabacher has accepted more than $50,000.

All three were endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and all three have “A” ratings. (The FBI is now investigating whether Russia helped fund NRA efforts to elect Trump.)

Once again, many people are asking how to prevent tragedies like the one at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Survivors of the shooting are begging members of Congress to take action.

“What we really need is action. Because we can say, ‘Yes, we’re going to do all these things — thoughts and prayers.’ What we need more than that is action,” Doug Hogg, a 17 year-old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High told CNN. “Please.”

Those pleas from survivors, and Americans across the country, fall on deaf ears. Despite repeated efforts by Democrats in Congress to take action, Republicans steadfastly refused. There was no legislative action to prevent further tragedies after Sandy Hook. None after Virginia Tech. None after Charleston, Orlando, San Bernardino, or Las Vegas.

If Knight, Rohrabacher, and Walters stay in lockstep with Trump, Palmdale will be just another item on the growing list of tragedies followed by inaction.

It is no wonder why voters are seeking to oust these lawmakers in 2018.