REMINDER: MAGA GOP Puts the Gun Lobby Over Our Communities’ Safety

President Biden has spent decades taking on the NRA and winning — and today he announced his latest step in that fight by establishing the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. This historic move builds on his work to end gun violence across the country — and stands in stark contrast to the field of MAGA Republicans running for president who have repeatedly put the gun lobby ahead of the safety of our kids and communities. 

Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed “big fan” of the NRA, caved to the NRA after the devastating Parkland shooting in 2018, and cozied up to the NRA on the heels of tragic mass shootings.

Trump: “There’s no bigger fan of the NRA [than me].”

New York Times: “President Trump on Monday abandoned his promise to work for gun control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association, bowing to the gun group and embracing its agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the background check system.”

Politico: “Former President Donald Trump on Friday addressed the National Rifle Association’s annual conference in Houston, slamming Democrats for their positions on gun control and pointing to mental health as the root cause of mass shootings just three days after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.”

CNN: “A slew of 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls courted gun rights activists Friday at a National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis that took place in the wake of mass shootings in Kentucky and Tennessee in recent days. Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence – the former ticket-mates who have split over Trump’s actions leading up to and during the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol – attended the gathering, and lambasted President Joe Biden.”

Ron DeSantis signed dangerous legislation in a closed-door ceremony with NRA representatives that could make it easier for criminals to carry weapons. DeSantis also pledged to “absolutely” support open-carry legislation.

NBC News: “With little fanfare, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday allowing residents to carry a concealed loaded weapon without a permit. DeSantis signed the bill in a nonpublic event in his office with only bill sponsors, legislative leaders and gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, in attendance.” 

Tampa Bay Times: “Gov. Ron DeSantis was recorded Thursday telling a member of a gun rights group that he supports allowing Floridians to openly carry guns in public — a measure that has been publicly opposed by some law enforcement officials and that would go further than any bill now filed for the upcoming legislative session.”

“‘Yeah, absolutely,’ DeSantis is heard to say during a 10-second interaction recorded by Valdes and shared with the Times. ‘I don’t think they’re going to do it, but I would absolutely.’”

Even after a devastating school shooting in Nashville, Nikki Haley still refused to support gun safety legislation. As governor of South Carolina, Haley also opposed expanding background checks in the wake of the tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

USA Today: “Nikki Haley’s town hall here in one of the first primary states opened against the backdrop of a deadly school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. The Republican presidential hopeful started her pitch by addressing the shooting and telling voters she wants more metal detectors, not more gun control legislation. She called for schools to have one entrance and to use the metal detectors there.” 

Washington Times: “South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Sunday said the botched FBI background check that allowed the man accused of the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston to buy the handgun used in the attack is tragic but does not justify expanding such checks.”

As of last year, Tim Scott had received more NRA money than any other sitting South Carolina politician in the 10 years prior, and he voted against the most significant bipartisan action on gun reform in nearly three decades.

WCIV: “Sen. Tim Scott tops the list at $20,400, with Congressman Jeff Duncan and SC Attorney General Alan Wilson trailing him at $11,000 and $10,500 respectively.”

WPDE: “South Carolina Senator Tim Scott was among the 33 Senators that voted against the [Bipartisan Safer Communities Act].” 

The NRA poured thousands into Asa Hutchinson’s past runs for office. Hutchinson also worked as an NRA consultant and received a glowing endorsement for his second gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas. 

KATV: “While there is no record of NRA donations to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s campaign for governor, Hutchinson has been a longtime friend to the NRA. When Hutchinson was campaigning for a seat in the House, the NRA donated a total of $19,399 to his campaigns from 1995-2002, according to The Center for Responsive Politics. In 2012, he served as an NRA consultant and task force chair. In 2018, the NRA endorsed his second run for governor.

“‘It is great to once again have the support of the National Rifle Association,’ Hutchinson said in a statement during the campaign. ‘I have always been a strong supporter of both the 2nd Amendment and the mission of the NRA,’ Hutchinson said in a statement.”

Mike Pence has long been a friend of the NRA, spending his career supporting policies pushed by the gun lobby and has called for more armed guards in schools instead of pushing for gun control legislation. 

The Independent: “Mike Pence would rather see armed school guards than gun control reforms”

Everytown for Gun Safety: “Pence has received an ‘A’ grade and an endorsement from the NRA each election cycle between 2002 and 2012.”

Everytown for Gun Safety: “Pence has a long political career of supporting dangerous policies pushed by the gun lobby—all while receiving funding from the gun lobby to support his political ambitions.”