Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lee Terry and Adrian Smith got a 92% from the NRA; Nebraska's assault rifle massacre enablers

Nebraska congressman Lee Terry (top left) and Adrian Smith (top right) with the type of
assault weapon (top centre) used to kill all 20 Sandy Hook children,
14 of whom you see above.
On December 5, 2007, before the Aurora, Colorado "Dark Knight" shootings and before last week's Sandy Hook grade school killings, but three days after the Omaha World-Herald gratuitously revisited the Charles Starkweather spree killings of 1958, Robert Hawkins took his dad's commercial copy of an AK-47 to Von Maur, in Omaha's Westroads Mall, and gunned down 13 people (eight of whom died) before shooting himself.
     You might think that another Nebraska massacre (this time with a military and not a hunting rifle or shotgun) might have given the state's congressional delegation pause about the 2004 lapse of the assault rifle ban. Nah. Here's what the Omaha World-Herald said at the time:
After the Westroads shootings, Nebraska Reps. Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith, all Republicans, made speeches in the House to address the tragedy and offer condolences to the victims and their families. None said anything about changing gun laws.
     Smith said he opposes the assault weapons ban legislation because "gun control doesn't work." "Someone wishing to cause harm, if they can't acquire it (a gun) legally, they acquire it illegally," he said.
     Terry declined a request for an interview on the subject.
He released a statement saying he had heard of "absolutely no plan" to debate the assault rifle ban.
Here's what Kyle Michaelis at New Nebraska Net said then, in a piece called The Politics Of Gun Control in a Post-Westroads Nebraska:
Mayor Fahey and Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren support reinstating a 10-year federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004...But not a single member of Nebraska's congressional delegation did.
     No doubt, what Lee Terry doesn't want to talk about is the role he's played over the last 9 years weakening our nation's gun control laws.  In particular, Terry probably doesn't want to answer questions about his relationship to the NRA. That shouldn't come as a surprise when, in 2004 - the year the Assault Weapons Ban lapsed in Congress - Terry was one of the top 20 recipients of the NRA's lucrative campaign contributions.  In fact, since he was first elected to Congress in 1998, Terry has taken more than $37,000 from the NRA. [Update: Terry has now taken almost $60,000 from the NRA and is currently #4 on their list of tools.]
     Meanwhile, Smith's pre-emptive pandering on this issue - ignorantly declaring that "gun control doesn't work" - probably rates him as even more contemptible.  The Westroads shooting has been Smith's first real opportunity to earn his keep as an NRA-lackey, and it seems he's more than risen to the occasion.   In just his first term in Congress, Smith has already taken $8,150 in NRA campaign contributions.  His eager reliance on outlandish right-wing talking points suggests Smith should be cashing-in in an even bigger way in no time.

     Of course, Terry and Smith may be the most culpable and the most offensive in their respective positions towards gun control, but the fact remains that Jeff Fortenberry, Chuck Hagel, and Ben Nelson have also taken substantial sums from the NRA and also stand opposed to renewing the assault weapons ban.

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