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."
\u201cScalise says there wasn\u2019t a conversation about banning airplanes after 9/11\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
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.
\u201c@r_jasonbennion @Acyn He does, but he know this is what his voters want to hear and more importantly his gun lobbying friends want him to say.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
\u201c@TazioNuvolari37 @Acyn But there WAS a ban on airplanes, albeit briefly. At least a couple of weeks if I recall correctly. Why do people forget this??\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
\u201c@Acyn They cancelled all flights & immediately put security into place which now equals getting to your flight HOURS ahead of time to take your shoes off & go thru Total Recall scanner\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
People weren't willing to buy the comparison from Scalise any more than they did from Boebert.
\u201c@Acyn Weird, it's almost like airplanes weren't designed exclusively for crashing into buildings.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
\u201c@Acyn This is where we are at with this debate. Just patently absurd points being made to avoid admitting its the guns.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
\u201c@kumark1 @Acyn You can get rid of fires by not reporting them.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1654701197
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:
\u201cSTEVE SCALISE: Under the guise of 'red flag,' they take away due process \n\nROBERTS: But if that had happened in case of Buffalo shooter, 10 people would be alive today\n\nSCALISE: Well again, due process is a constitutional right\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1654437903
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.
\u201c@REFrankel @atrupar Exactly. What about the rights of the rest of us, the majority I might add.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1654437903
\u201c@btc2008 @atrupar He does, but he\u2019s betting the typical Fox viewer doesn\u2019t and won\u2019t bother to look it up.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1654437903
\u201c@craiglovin @atrupar They say they want to keep guns out of the hands of some people\u2013today\u2019s target is those with mental illness\u2013but they don\u2019t want the universal background checks and database that would make their own \u2018goal\u2019 possible.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1654437903
Whether the disconnect between what voters want and the Republicans' devotion to the NRA will affect the 2022 midterms remains to be seen.