Gillibrand laments NRA’s ‘chokehold’ on Congress
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in an interview late Tuesday decried the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) sway over lawmakers, comparing its influence to a “chokehold on Congress.”
“This is unfathomable how many deaths we’ve had to see over and over and over again, and Congress has done nothing,” Gillibrand said on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
“The silence is literally deafening,” she added. “And they don’t get anything done, because the NRA has a chokehold on Congress. The NRA is concerned only with gun sales. It is literally all about money, it is all about greed.”
Gillibrand’s comments came nearly a week after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and injuring 14 others.
The attack reignited a national debate over the country’s gun laws. Some lawmakers have called in recent days for expanding background checks for purchasing firearms, or implementing a ban on assault weapons.
Many Republicans in Congress, however, have shown little appetite for tightening gun restrictions.
After the Parkland shooting last week, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) warned against “taking away citizens’ rights” as a reaction to the tragedy.
But Gillibrand said it is the NRA’s money and organizing power than makes lawmakers beholden to its interests, saying that the organization’s message has “nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”
“It’s the power of money, it’s the power of communications, it’s the fear they instill in members and it’s wrong,” she said. “It’s morally wrong.”