Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unloaded “Republicans that wage a right-wing ideological crusade fashioned by the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America” today on the floor of the upper chamber.
Reid read out the names of the victims at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., declaring that “the reality of gun violence in the United States is not only shocking, it’s pathetic.”
“Each time gun violence claims the life of an American, the nation follows the same routine. Here’s what it is. The same thing happens. We have shock and sorrow. We start asking questions. Who did that? Who was the killer? We usually have to wait a few hours to find out who it was,” Reid said. “Why did he do this? Why did he carry out this horrible act? Then we wonder, when the time allows it, what could we as a nation have done to prevent this terrible thing from happening? But we don’t do anything. We don’t act.”
“…Can’t we raise standards in this country for gun purchases? The answer, of course, is yes. And we can do it by not infringing on rights to restrict access to firearms, but to keep Americans safe.”
Reid charged that “what it’s all about” is the NRA and Gun Owners of America “in a scramble to see who can raise the most money.”
“One of them does something, the other goes ‘we’ll do better than that,’ and they are out with each with ‘can you send us some money?’ This right-wing ideological crusade fashioned by the NRA and Gun Owners of America, is to prevent background checks that would keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and the mentally ill.”
Reid has benefited from thousands of dollars in NRA money over the years, with his 2010 campaign boasting that “beyond a doubt…the NRA believes Sen. Reid to be a strong advocate for Nevadans’ Second Amendment rights in the U.S. Senate.”
But Reid said today that the NRA “is a far cry from the sportsmen’s association it once was…. Now, the NRA and its leadership are committed to a radical agenda that allows criminals and mentally ill Americans to access guns to commit these terrible act.”
He counted off gun incidents that were among “the consequences of inaction” on gun control, including the Fort Hood terrorist attack.
“What will it take before we stand up as a nation and say, ‘Enough! Not another innocent American will fall victim to this ideological crusade of having more and more guns.’”
Reid said he’s “started to reach out to senators and talk about what can be done to advance the cause of background checks while Republicans are in charge for the next year or so.”
“But one thing is clear,” he said. “To pass background checks, we need Republicans to stop acting as puppets of the NRA.”