In the wake of two major mass shootings, Republican legislators ramped up their gun rights rhetoric.
A White nationalist killed 10—mostly elderly—Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York in a racially motivated act of domestic terrorism. Then another gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
But while the public and Democratic leadership called for enacting popular gun control meSures, the GOP did the work of their National Rifle Association donors and deflected blame or spouted pro-gun propaganda. They called for fewer doors and more guns in schools as a solution to school shootings.
Just three days after the Uvalde murders, Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and former Republican President Donald Trump made the trip to Houston, Texas to support the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) at their annual leadership forum. The NRA-ILA works to block gun control legislation and to pass legislation to weaken existing gun control laws.
On Wednesday—flanked by New York GOP Representative Elise Stefanik and Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise repeated rhetoric Colorado GOP Congresswoman Lauren Boebert was chastised for in May.
Scalise stated in the wake of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001:
"There wasn't a conversation about banning airplanes."
On May 26—two days after the gun murders at the Texas elementary school—Republican Representative Lauren Boebert stated:
"When 9/11 happened, we didn’t ban planes."
The parroted rhetoric likely comes from the same talking points memos from the same sources.
But is it accurate?
In the wake of 9/11, the airspace over the entire United States became a no-fly zone for all commercial and private planes. Only military and emergency services flights were allowed for weeks after the attacks.
In Washington DC, Reagan National Airport was restricted to a single approach and departure corridor. The size of planes allowed to fly to Reagan was also restricted.
Those sounded a lot like bans on planes to people.
People weren't willing to buy the comparison from Scalise any more than they did from Boebert.
On Sunday, Scalise appeared on Fox News Sunday with host John Roberts.
When Roberts asked Scalise if the GOP was out of touch in their unwavering support of gun sales, Scalise repeatedly dodged the question.
You can see excerpts below:
Roberts cited Quinnipiac poll data.
Polls confirmed 89% of voters want stronger background checks and 74% want the red flag regulations Scalise railed against.
Scalise countered voters in the United States aren't as well-informed as he and other gun rights advocates.
People begged to differ on who was uninformed.
Whether the disconnect between what voters want and the Republicans' devotion to the NRA will affect the 2022 midterms remains to be seen.