GOP Candidates Express Sorrow for Umpqua College Massacre but All Seek Looser Gun Laws

Human Rights

It’s hard to know what’s sicker. The latest rampage and mass murder of innocents by a gun-wielding killer, or the knee-jerk reactions by Republican presidential candidates tweeting their sympathies after spending their political lives opposing gun control?

But that was the reaction on the 2016 presidential campaign trail today after the news broke that a deranged shooter killed at least 10 people and injured more than 20 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who supports vigilante “Stand Your Ground” laws and carrying concealed weapons, tweeted, “Praying for Umpqua Community College, the victims, and families impacted by this senseless tragedy.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has voted to decrease the waiting period to buy a guy, and said after the Littleton, Colo., mass shooting that people should “cool off before making new gun laws," tweeted, “The thoughts and prayers of Ohioans go out to the families & victims of the tragic shooting in Oregon today.”

Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who wants to expand conceal carry laws saying they save lives, and said the Second Amendment is about freedom, tweeted, “My prayers are with everyone in Oregon. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who in June opposed expanded background checks and in 2013 voted no on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets, tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of this terrible tragedy at Umpqua Community College.”

You get the point. Unlike Democrat Hillary Clinton, who tweeted, “Another devastating shooting. We need sensible gun control measures to save lives, and I will do everything I can to achieve that. –H,” and has said the notion that anyone can have a gun anywhere must be “reined in,” what these Republican presidential candidates say is the opposite of what they would do.

Their supposedly sympathetic tweets are not just another political lie, or new hypocrisy on the campaign trail. They underscore the darkness and denial that is common among gun control opponents, who somehow believe that the freedom to access guns is more important than the lives lost when another maniac plans and executes a mass killing.

Pathetically, right-wingers discovered that Umpqua College banned firearms on campus, and accused President Obama of “politicizing” a tragedy by saying he still supports gun control laws. They cynically would have you believe that if students were armed that this slaughter might have been prevented. 

But that was not Umpqua College’s vision for its students, a majority of whom are women. “Umpqua Community College aspires to be the center for quality teaching and learning, and a key partner in the well being and enrichment of our communities,” its website said.

It is horrible and sick that yet another mass murder has occurred because a damaged young man had access to firearms. But it is also sick and revolting that the men and one woman seeking the Republican nomination express condolences for gun victims while favoring policies that would spread more guns across America.

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