The Slatest

GOP Congressmen Offer “Thoughts and Prayers.” Here’s How Much the NRA Gave Them to Offer Nothing More.

Screengrab from Twitter

The Sunday shooting in Orlando that left 50 dead and at least 50 wounded is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. But the response from most members of Congress—especially Republicans—has been routine. They have issued tweets and press releases offering “thoughts and prayers”—and nothing more.

The reasons for this weak, rote response are simple and sadly familiar. Though the shooter used an AR-15 assault rifle—the same kind of weapon used to kill 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012—and though he had been investigated by the FBI and was reportedly on a terrorist “watch list,” these politicians are unlikely to push for even the most measly gun-control measures, such as a ban on assault weapons or a bill denying gun purchases to suspected terrorists. Just this past December, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have stopped people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns.

That bill had tremendous popular support—a Quinnipiac University poll found that 77 percent of American voters support banning people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. Nevertheless, the gun lobby, representing a small but powerful minority of voters, persuaded politicians to vote against it with tactics including millions of dollars in campaign donations.

It’s worth noting, as Dana Houle did on Twitter, that gun-control–opposing politicians act out of fear that the NRA will push them out of office by backing a more right-leaning primary challenger.

Still, it’s valuable to catalog the politicians who offer “thoughts and prayers” while receiving money from the NRA and similar groups. Igor Volsky of the Center of American Progress has made it a tradition to do just that, pairing tweets from members of Congress with the added context of how much money each politician accepted from the gun lobby. We’ve rounded up a selection of these tweets below.

Read more from Slate on the Orlando nightclub shooting.