Whether Wednesday’s massacre in San Bernardino was an act of terrorism or simply another hate crime is a matter of semantics.
According to federal law, a mass shooting can be considered a terrorist act if the violence was intended to intimidate or influence government policy.
My take is that the National Rifle Association will once again use the tragedy as a means to intimidate the American people and influence government policy and as such, it is, at the least, an accomplice to a terrorist act.
The NRA will twist the horror of Wednesday into a call for fewer restrictions on the purchase of guns. It will mock the anguish of the victims’ families, saying had they been armed during their office Christmas party the damage could have been mitigated. It will laugh at our naïveté for longing for the days of yesteryear when we did not wonder if our neighbors or coworkers would take out their frustrations or personal vendettas in such violent ways.
It doesn’t really matter what the agenda of the assailants was on Wednesday. In a country as large and diverse as the United States, renegades of every stripe and persuasion are to be expected.
But that the two twenty-somethings could amass such an arsenal is of grave concern. In their stash were high-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns, weaponry typically used by military and police forces.
And it’s because of the lobbying influence of the NRA that such weapons can be purchased — with little oversight — by everyday Americans.
For 2014, the NRA spent more than $30 million in lobbying efforts and campaign donations to ensure our elected officials would go easy on gun control.
In the 2014 elections, Kansas’ Sen. Pat Roberts accepted $9,900 from the NRA. Kansas congressional members accepting NRA donations were Mike Pompeo, $3,000; Tim Huelskamp, $2,500; Lynn Jenkins, $2,000, and Kevin Yoder, $2,000.
In all his previous races for either the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, Jerry Moran accepted donations from the NRA, but did not in 2014.
So yes, our lawmakers are beholden to the NRA.
THE REASON this is so important is that the vast majority of Americans, who are not in the pockets of the NRA, want expanded background checks on gun purchasers and tighter regulations on gun dealers to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
So far, our pleas for such controls continue to fall on deaf ears; further evidence that the NRA, and its money, has the final say in Congress.