New controls on firearms are good policy and even better politics, a major Republican donor is warning his fellow party members.
“The federal government better pass legislation that is readily available right now … and get it done now, before November,” said donor Al Hoffman Jr., leader of the group Gun Safety Now, according to Time. “If they don’t do this, my guess is that they will lose big in November.”
Hoffman used Saturday’s anti-gun marches as a vehicle to promote his group’s anti-gun stance.
“Americans for Gun Safety Now! is honored to stand in solidarity with the thousands of students, including survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, to rally for change in our nation’s capital,” Hoffman said in a statement. “These students represent our next generation of leaders. Our new advocacy group is dedicated to supporting their courageous efforts by calling on Congress to pass a six-provision legislative package to make schools and the entire nation safer.”
Hoffman, who has donated millions to Florida Republican candidates, made a splash in February when he issued an ultimatum to candidates that if they do not support gun control, he will not support them, according to The New York Times.
“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” he wrote in an email at the time. “Enough is enough!”
Hoffman, who served as the ambassador to Portugal during the administration of former President George W. Bush, is also demanding expanded background checks and banning anyone under 21 from buying a gun.
Hoffman has admitted that so far, his demands are not being met with compliance.
“We’re in deep limbo with a number of congressmen and senators right now, but we’ve got to kick them in the butt and get it going on this. For our own sake,” Hoffman said.
“I’m going to encourage anyone whose involved with giving money to any member of the Republican Party not to give money to these candidates that will not endorse this plan,” he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who in a report in The Washington Post was attacked by Hoffman as “totally beholden to the gun lobby,” noted in a statement he released Saturday that despite the good intentions of young Americans who joined in marches, there is more to the issue than guns.
Today many are peacefully exercising their #1A right to march for gun ban. Many support gun ban. But many others see it as infringement of #2A that won’t prevent shootings. Protest is good way of making a point,but making a change will require both sides finding common ground
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 24, 2018
“Today many are peacefully exercising their #1A right to march for gun ban. Many support gun ban. But many others see it as infringement of #2A that won’t prevent shootings. Protest is good way of making a point, but making a change will require both sides finding common ground,” Rubio wrote on Twitter.
On the same day that students in many communities marched against guns, citizens in Montana marched in defense of the Second Amendment, as report by National Public Radio.
State Rep. Seth Berglee discussed Montana’s high rates of gun ownership and deaths due to firearms, both of which are among the highest in the nation.
The right to self defense is a natural law, unless you support slavery. As long as there are people that own a so called military style weapon or a magazine that holds more than however many rounds I have the right to own the same to defend myself.
— Seth Berglee (@berglee_seth) March 24, 2018
“You can say the rates are what they are,” he said. “But way more kids die from drunk driving in high school. They die from texting and driving. They die from depression-related issues.”
Berglee has proposed legislation that would have allowed teachers with permits to carry concealed weapons in school.
“I have a basic right that’s not granted by society — it’s granted by God — to self-defense,” Berglee said. “I don’t see how people in society can make the argument that they have the right to take a right from me because one person did something bad.”
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