Senate Republicans Answer on Gun Bills

'New York Times' puts answers up against lawmakers' NRA grades and donations
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2022 7:40 PM CDT
Where GOP Senators Stand on Gun Bills
Sen. Chris Murphy, center, and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, left, join activists and other Democrats to demand action on gun control legislation Thursday in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – At least 10 GOP senators would have to support gun control legislation for it to pass. The New York Times contacted all 50 Republicans to see whether they'll back two measures that the House has approved to toughen background checks for people who want to buy guns. Most of them either wouldn't say how they'd vote or said they'd oppose the House bills. Here are a sampling of their responses, which the Times ran along with their grades from the National Rifle Association and the amount of money the organization has contributed to the senators over their careers.

  • Maine Sen. Susan Collins: A spokeswoman said "Senator Collins is one of two Republican senators currently serving who voted for Manchin-Toomey, which included background checks for all commercial transactions." NRA rating: A. Funding: $18,000.
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: The senator blamed Democrats "and a whole lot of folks in the media" for rushing to "try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens." NRA rating: A+. Funding: $176,000.
  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham: "None of these things we're talking about seems to change the outcome, before these most recent cases. I doubt if any Republicans vote for that." NRA rating: A. Funding: $433,000.
  • Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey: "My interest in doing something to improve and expand our background check system remains." NRA rating: C. Funding: $1.5 million.
  • Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell: No answer. NRA rating: A+. Funding: $1.3 million.
  • Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville: "I'm willing to say that I’m very sorry it happened. But guns are not the problem, OK? People are the problem." NRA rating: A. Funding: $10,000.
  • Utah Sen. Mitt Romney: "I do believe that we will be looking at ways to improve our background checks. ... And I do believe that red flag laws ... are helpful." NRA rating: A. Funding: $13.6 million.
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: No answer. NRA rating: A+. Funding: $3.3 million.
  • Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe: "I hadn’t thought about it. You're the first one to bring that to my attention." NRA rating: A+. Funding: $82,000.
You can read the full piece here. (Read more Senate Republicans stories.)

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