The unspeakable tragedy in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday compels us to speak up, as loud as we can and for as long as possible. Yet another school shooting, yet another bloody rampage by a homegrown terrorist with a weapon that no one outside the military should ever need or be able to access. There were 17 needless deaths because America is the only country that makes it easier to buy semi-automatic rifles than a bottle of wine.
We find ourselves in this awful, soul-crushing situation because the gun lobby, led by the NRA, has bought the Republican Party and created an insidious culture around firearms. The NRA spent $30 million to get Donald Trump elected president, and millions upon millions more to boost many other GOP officials. Republicans are cowards who only offer milquetoast “thoughts and prayers” regardless of how bloody and tragic the massacre, so if they won’t take action, we have to take matters into our own hands.
There are several Republican lawmakers who have taken an exorbitant amount of money from the NRA that now face credible, aggressive, progressive Democratic candidates. We are going to highlight some of those candidates over the coming weeks and months, while also raising money for gun control advocacy groups. This week, we’ll start with Everytown, the loudest of these groups, to help show the NRA and GOP politicians that we are active and ready to take them on in this fight.
Many of the top Republican recipients of NRA cash face serious threats from the Democratic side, but many of those candidates have yet to make clear their positions on gun control. In some cases, it’s a matter of coming from rural districts, where it can be a tricky issue, but nonetheless, we can’t exactly throw our support behind them quite yet; we want vocal Democrats taking on the gun lobby. But several candidates stand out as bold leaders on the matter.
Our candidate for this week is Jess King, who is running against Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16), one of the biggest NRA lapdogs in Congress. In fact, Smucker received more money from the NRA than any other congressional candidate in 2016. The Pennsylvania map is about to be redrawn, but King will still be running for office. And you have to admire how vocal she’s been about gun control; unlike most candidates in her position, she has a detailed statement on her site about the need for new gun laws.
UPDATED: We also have to give credit to Jess for becoming the second candidate to have a unionized campaign staff: