U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson hasn't gotten a check from the National Rifle Association for about a decade, but did receive $4,000 from the organization over three congressional cycles leading up to the 2006 election.
Thompson, a Democrat whose district encompasses Santa Rosa, has positioned himself as a reasonable gun owner in Congress and has offered a "bipartisan" bill that would enhance background checks. He's been tweeting at Donald Trump about the bill since the school shooting in Florida last week, which left 17 dead.
Thompson co-authored his bill with Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King, whose Long Island, N.Y., district is a Trump stronghold. Thompson may have shed the NRA money stain as he's sought common ground on gun control—but that common ground of "bipartisanship" is a joke.
His bill has 158 sponsors, and 155 of them are Democrats. The last person to sign on was Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo. He's been called out for taking money from the NRA and signed on to the Thompson bill two days after the shooting.
Now contrast Thompson's bill with the Trump-inspired bill in the House that would legalize conceal-carry nationally; that bill has more than 200 sponsors, and all but three are Republicans. It has the support of the Trumpian Californians—Mimi Walters, Kevin McCarthy and that weird Nunes fellow, all of whom have taken the NRA's money and hate California's gun-control laws.
Those heroic kids down in Florida are focused on the NRA money, which mostly goes to Republicans, but they know it's not just about the money. They have directly engaged with a gun culture that the NRA has engendered with its no-compromise approach to any legislation, premised on the paranoid notion that they are coming for our guns.
And yet, for all his good effort, Thompson won't stop pandering to the paranoia. He sponsored a similar bill in 2015 with King and went to lengths to announce his fealty to the Second Amendment as he assured constituents that it wouldn't ban any weapon, not even the AR-15s used in most school shootings.
The time has come and gone for pols to stand up and pledge allegiance to the Second Amendment. We get it, congressman. Nobody's coming for those guns of yours. Your soul, on the other hand . . .
Tom Gogola is the news editor of the 'Bohemian.'
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