Sign up for the THINK newsletter

You have been successfully added to our newsletter.

Get fresh opinions, sharp analyses and powerful essays delivered to your inbox.

Kurt Bardella After the Parkland shooting, let's call GOP hypocrisy on guns what it really is: complicity

By their own logic, the GOP and Trump are complicit in America's mass shooting epidemic.
Image: Trump during meeting in Oval Office
So here we go again.Olivier Douliery / Pool via Getty Images
Get the Think newsletter.

On January 20, 2018, President Donald Trump's campaign released a television ad titled “Complicit” that blamed Democrats for murders committed by illegal immigrants.

Trump tweeted that day: “Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border.

Two days later, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Democrats of “turning down services and security for citizens in favor of services and security for non-citizens. Not good!”

Four days after that tweet, Trump accused Democrats of not being “interested in Border Safety & Security or in the funding and rebuilding of our Military. They are only interested in Obstruction!”

Two weeks ago, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was tragically killed by a drunk driver who happened to be an illegal immigrant. Trump called it “disgraceful” and pointed to the incident as “just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!”

If Donald Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress can blame Democrats for the actions of undocumented immigrants, then the American people should be able to blame Trump and Congressional Republicans for murders committed with guns. After all, Republicans’ main criticism of Democrats on immigration is that they are too soft, too slow to crack down, too sympathetic to immigrants. And yet, Republicans are just as sympathetic to gun lobbyists and manufacturers — not to mention willing to take their campaign contributions — and just as slow to crackdown on background check loopholes.

This is an imperfect metaphor, however. Because while many researchers have concluded that undocumented immigrants do not commit a disproportionate number of crimes in the U.S., researchers do believe that there are specific gun laws that, if implemented, could reduce the number of mass shootings, and the lower the body count when fatal shootings do tragically happen.

So here we are again. In the wake of this week’s deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our country has endured the deadliest high school shooting, church shooting and overall mass shooting in U.S. history — all in the last 6 months.

How are Republican policymakers responding to this gun epidemic?

The White House said, yet again, that it was too quick to say it was “premature” to have a discussion about gun policy in America.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told a radio station Thursday morning that “we need to take a breath and collect the facts” before starting a conversation about “taking away law-abiding citizen’s rights.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan told a radio station Thursday morning that “we need to take a breath and collect the facts” before starting a conversation about “taking away law-abiding citizen’s rights.” Remember this call for restraint the next time an undocumented immigrant is involved in a crime and Republicans use it to justify their extreme position on immigration.

This as Ryan has recently presided over a successful vote to pass new legislation to make it easier for people to carry concealed guns across state lines!

So, let’s re-imagine some of those Donald Trump tweets, shall we?

“Republicans are far more concerned with the NRA than they are our Children or Safety in our now-dangerous schools.”

How about this one: “Republicans are turning down reforms and security for citizens in favor of services and security for the NRA. Not good!”

Or we could go with: “Republicans are not interested in Gun Safety & Security or in the implementation of common-sense reforms. They are only interested in Obstruction!”

Sometimes I wonder if the only way you can reach Trump is to communicate with him in tweets, so here goes nothing: “So disgraceful that a person legally in our country killed 17 people at a High School. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get GOP to get tough on gun reform, and with gun control, FAST!”

Let’s state the obvious: “thoughts and prayers” aren’t getting the job done. The United States is the only country in the world that has this problem with mass shootings. Do Trump and Congressional Republicans attribute this to our citizens having an overly developed homicidal nature or could it be because everybody else in the world has better gun reform laws than we do?

The United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population but is home to one-third of the world’s mass shootings.

Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that “we need a 21st Century MERIT-BASED immigration system” and that our current approach to immigration was “outdated” and “hurt our economic and national security.”

Too bad this same logic hasn’t been applied to common-sense gun reform. And until that happens, it is not only likely — but assured — that more Americans will needlessly and brutally die.

Kurt Bardella is an NBC THINK contributor, HuffPost columnist and a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. He is a former spokesperson for Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Sen.Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter: @kurtbardella.

Get the Think newsletter.
MORE FROM think