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Collins: It's 'extremely disappointing' people want Congress to act after mass shootings

Susan Collins has spent her Senate career doing as the gun industry wants.

By Oliver Willis - August 08, 2019
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Susan Collins

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she found it “extremely disappointing” that millions of people are calling for gun reform after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Collins told a conservative radio show on Wednesday. “There are times for political debate, but this is not one of them.”

Americans overwhelmingly want gun reform to be passed into legislation and polls taken after the most recent shootings show that.

Hundreds of mayors and police chiefs have called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who Collins backs, asking him to pass background check legislation that has passed the Democratic-led House.

Collins has, over the last few years, become the second most unpopular senator in America, behind only McConnell as she has stood by him in enacting the Trump agenda.

Her latest comments aren’t the first time Collins has soft-pedaled gun concerns after a mass shooting.

After Sandy Hook, Collins insisted that “the common thread in all these horrific mass shootings is mental illness,” and not guns. Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 that killed 59, Collins merely said she was “concerned” about the bump stock modification used by the shooter to make his weapons more lethal.

Collins’ track record throughout her Senate career on guns shows someone more in line with the gun lobby than with voters in her state.

She began her political career in the 1990s with the backing of Dick Dyke, the then-owner of gun manufacturer Bushmaster. Dyke co-chaired Collins’ 1996 Senate campaign and helped her raise $14,000 for the effort.

Collins also received nearly $5,000 from the NRA for that campaign and voiced support for repealing the assault weapons ban that was in place at the time.

In the Senate, Collins repaid the favor to Bushmaster and the NRA by opposing key gun safety reforms.

As the nation grieved the loss of life in the Sandy Hook school massacre, Collins voted against measures that would have banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The killer in the shooting used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle with an enhanced magazine.

A report issued after the shooting found a “total of eighty expended 5.56 mm casings seized from classroom 8” after the killer had completed his slaughter of innocent children.

Collins voted against closing the gun show loophole three times — in 1999, 2013, and 2016.

After the Pulse nightclub attack in 2015, where 49 people were killed, Collins opposed legislation that would have expanded federal background check requirements.

Three times between 2015 and 2016, Collins voted against bills that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns.

In 2005, she voted for legislation that protected gun manufacturers and dealers from civil lawsuits attempting to make them liable for gun violence.

Collins opposed a ban on transferring assault weapons to children, supported loosening restrictions on mentally ill veterans getting guns, and supported legislation permitting the sale of handguns across state lines. She even backed bills that would expand concealed carry permits, so-called “reciprocity.”

Collins’ track record shows reflexive deference to the gun industry and the NRA. Her first instinct after the shootings was once again to bow in their direction as Americans ask for a remedy to the gun problem.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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