Human Rights

Watch: NRA-Backed Congress Members Refuse to Offer More than 'Thoughts and Prayers' as Student Survivors Mount Protests

Their responses are telling.

Photo Credit: Screen Capture via NowThis

A gunman killed 17 high school students last week in Parkland, Florida. A new video from NowThis shows the responses of NRA-backed representatives in Congress to a reporter who asked them for “any solutions at all, other than thoughts and prayers,” regarding gun control.

Their responses are telling.

After Rep. Masha Blackburn (R-TN) was asked, “Do you have anything besides thoughts and prayers to offer? Any solutions at all for this gun violence?” all she had to say was, “We are so concerned about those precious children and families.” Then she ducked into the elevator as fast as she could repeating, “This is a members' only elevator.”

The reporter pressed on, saying, “I know you’re concerned enough to pay for the funerals. Are you concerned enough to do anything else at all?”

She responded by crossing her arms over her chest and repeating, “This is a members' only elevator.” When pressed again for a solution, she said, “My heart breaks for these families."

Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) responded to the reporter’s request for a solution to gun violence with “I gotta go,” as he scurried rapidly away from the reporter. The reporter walked with him and asked again, and Desantis responded with, “I mean praying for people, I don’t think you should diminish that.”

The reporter said he didn’t diminish it, just asked for anything in addition to prayers, referencing the Frederick Douglass quote: “I prayed for freedom for 20 years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

Other representatives slammed doors in the reporter’s face and flat-out ignored the questions.  

Each of the congress members in the video has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.

Watch the video below:

In response to the general inaction on the part of Congress and the president when it comes to gun control, Douglass High School students in Florida are calling for a widespread movement including school walk-out protests across the nation. They want this shooting to mark a turning point for the U.S. on gun control.

“We are going to be the last mass shooting,” said Emma Gonzalez, a high school senior and survivor of the Parkland, Florida shooting in an impassioned speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale. Gonzalez called out President Trump, Congress and the other adults around her for refusing to take action to prevent the kinds of horrors she recently witnessed at her school.

“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m gonna happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” she said. She answered her own question: $30 million.

"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you," she said through tears.

Watch Gonzalez's speech below:

April M. Short is a freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness and social justice. She previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor. 

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