Former Republican Congressman Scott Rigell claims that Republicans have zero appetite to pass gun control.
A Buzzfeed story covers Rigell’s frustration with GOP leadership on the issue.
Rigell was in Congress from 2011 to 2017 representing an Eastern Virginia district.
He claims that Republicans “won’t move on gun control because they’re told not to politicize gun tragedy.”
Rigell told BuzzFeed News on Monday, August 5, 2019, “There was no appetite — zero — for advancing any substantive legislation like the legislation that I proposed with [Democratic Rep.] Elijah Cummings, even though it was very, in my view, benign.”
In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Rigel teamed up with Elijah Cummings to introduce the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013, which “would have made gun trafficking and straw purchases — buying a firearm with the intention of giving it to someone else — a federal crime.” However, the bill was not able to gain any traction as it died in the Republican-led House Judiciary subcommittee
The former congressman was attacked by the National Association for Gun Rights for his desire to push gun control.
Rigell commented on NAGR’s actions, saying that “You know they wanted to make a point out of me that anybody that works outside of their agenda, they’re going to stop supporting if not outright oppose them.”
He added, “There is an intense polarization, you’re either with us or against us. That’s the mindset.”
Despite Rigell’s complaints, Republicans have incrementally passed gun control at the federal level. For example, in 2018 the government passed Fix NICS, a bill which incentivizes local and state governments in addition to federal agencies to share records with the FBI in order to allegedly smooth out the background check process.
Fix NICS proponents argue that these tweaks would have deterred the Charleston Church and Sutherland Spring shootings, in which both shooters allegedly fell through the cracks of the background check system according to these elected officials.
The National Rifle Association supported Fix NICS. On the other hand, Gun Owners of America opposed this legislation arguing that it was the largest gun control expansion at the federal level since the passage of the Brady Act in 1993. Fix NICS was passed into a massive spending bill in 2018.
And that wasn’t all.
Trump’s Justice Department effectively re-wrote the law by reclassifying “bump-stock devices” as “machine guns” under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968. It used the argument that these “devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.”
Americans who possessed these accessories were given 90 days to destroy them and turn them in to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Even after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Republicans ae pushing for “red flag” gun confiscation orders.
Former Republican Governor, now U.S. Senator Rick Scott, got the ball rolling when he signed red flag legislation into law in 2018 after the Parkland massacre.
Given the GOPs growing complacency on the issue and their desire to stay in good graces with the media, Rigell’s complaints might actually be addressed in the long-term.
This would be bad news for gun owners.
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