We live in a dangerous country. Six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in American history have happened in the past decade. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that mass shootings are becoming more frequent. And nobody is safe from gun violence — it was just last month that Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and five others were shot during a practice session for the Republican baseball team.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) expressed his sympathy for Scalise after the shooting. He offered similar bromides last year after 49 were killed last at an Orlando nightclub. But like the rest of his party, he never calls these shootings what they are: the product of a uniquely American gun ownership problem.
It’s not hard to see why. Paulsen has taken around $20,000 in donations from the National Rifle Association. In return, he’s voted 13 times to block gun safety legislation — including one time last year when he even voted to prevent debate on a bill to ban firearms sales to suspected terrorists.
The NRA awarded him with a coveted “A” rating in 2006 and 2009, and an “A-” in 2010. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, conversely, gave him the worst possible rating — zero — in their 2013-14 congressional survey.
At one point, Paulsen did claim at least some responsible standards. Back in 2013, he favored keeping guns out of “the hands of individuals who are mentally ill or mentally unstable.” But earlier this year, he voted against a provision that did just that.
We elect men and women to Congress to improve our community, to make it safer. Paulsen’s love affair with the gun lobby only empowers criminals and terrorists, and puts us all at risk.
Featured image via YouTube.