Tuesday 20 February 2018

This woman is calling out politicians for offering condolences to Florida shooting victims while receiving cash from the NRA

Some lawmakers have received millions from the National Rifle Association over their careers.

NRA funding is being called out after the latest high school shooting (vetkit/Getty Images)
NRA funding is being called out after the latest high school shooting (vetkit/Getty Images)

By Taylor Heyman, Press Association

In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting on Wednesday, Twitter reverberated with thousands of condolence messages from concerned members of the public and lawmakers.

However, one woman used her 240 characters to call out the perceived hypocrisy of condolences from those who have benefited from National Rifle Association (NRA) sponsorship.

A 19-year-old man has been charged with the murders of 17 people with an AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Fifteen others were injured in the shooting on Wednesday afternoon.

Bess Kalb, a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! – an American late-night talk show – retweeted messages offering “thoughts and prayers” from Senators and Congresspeople, noting how much cash they and their campaigns had received from the NRA.

The numbers Kalb quotes are from a New York Times article released in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017.

The piece used Federal Election Commission data to add up the funds the NRA used to help candidates over the course of their careers, both through direct donations and other spending to benefit the candidate such as adverts.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 84% of Americans support the expansion of background checks to include guns sold at gun shows and privately, but both the House and the Senate have failed to pass legislation to that effect.

The NRA is a powerful lobbying force with large resources at its disposal. In 2016, the year of Donald Trump’s election, the organisation spent more than US$20m (£14m) on political contributions, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Although Kalb’s tweets each received upwards of 5,000 retweets each, some disagreed with the sentiment behind them.

Kalb used the attention her tweets were getting to ask followers to donate to the Every Town for Gun Safety, an organisation which educates the public about gun laws and pressures lawmakers to support tighter gun legislation.

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kalb’s tweets.

Press Association

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