While the nation suffers through the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Republicans have like clockwork begun to send their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. The gesture is insulting on its face due to the glaring detail that most of these victims are from the LGBT community and the Republican Party has routinely demonized and demeaned them as part of their regular assaults on gay rights. It’s also disgusting considering these very same Republicans (and one Democrat) listened to the NRA’s lobbyists over reason just six months ago and voted to kill a bill that would have made it impossible for a person on the terror watch list to legally acquire a gun.
Senate Republicans rejected a bill that aims to stop suspected terrorists from legally buying guns, on Thursday. The vote came a day after at least 14 people were killed during the San Bernardino massacre in California by two suspects, including a woman said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Forty-five senators voted for the bill and 54 voted against it. One Democrat, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, crossed party lines.
The measure would have denied people on the terrorist watch list the ability to buy guns.
This is how warped the gun-obsessed fringe of the right has gotten. Terror suspects can be barred from flying, but they must never have their right to bear arms infringed. That’s “tyranny.”
Guess who was on the terror watch list? Orlando’s nightclub shooter.
NBC's Pete Williams reports that terrorist was on a "watch list" over associations w "suspicious" ppl several yrs ago.
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 12, 2016
The FBI confirmed that the suspect, Omar Mateen, was a “known quantity.” Presumably, federal law enforcement knew he was a danger, but their hands were tied when it came to actually preventing him from acquiring the gun (the same type used in the Sandy Hook and Aurora massacres) he would use to kill more than 50 people. A law like the one Democrats purposed six months ago would have been a nice step towards preventing this tragedy. Instead, Republicans once again sided with gun sales and more people are dead.
For Orlando residents, there is blood on the hands of someone closer to home. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) was quick to rush out a statement to explain that this was all about Islam. His eagerness to avoid talking about guns speaks volumes. He is, after all, one of the Republicans who decided terrorists should have guns. At the time he voted to kill the sensible gun law, Rubio claimed he was doing so in order to ensure people had access to guns. One of those people bought one and took it into an Orlando nightclub.
It’s often been said that Republicans giving “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting is distasteful. At this point, it’s actually offensive.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images