Dana Watch: Trigger Sappy

Illustration by Bob Aul

Count Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Pea Shooter) among the Members of Congress who take money from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups, then issue “thoughts and prayers” statements after tragedies such as the slaughter of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school.

“As a father of three, I grieve with all Americans the loss our compatriots in Florida have suffered,” Rohrabacher posted on his Facebook page on Feb. 16. “I also continue to pray for those who have lost loved ones in previous senseless acts of violence like this one. We must commit ourselves to ending this scourge.”

He goes on to single out as a possible contributing factor: “the incidence of psychotropic drugs prescribed to public-school students with the purpose of keeping them in order.” As for stricter gun control laws . . .

“In the aftermath of such carnage as this, we always hear calls for the confiscation of firearms from honest people,” Rohrabacher writes. “That is totally counterproductive.”

He does see merit in “the creation of a federal list of those prescribed such [psychotropic] drugs, as well as the names of convicted felons,” with the intent of making it “illegal for anyone to sell a weapon to any individual on that list.”

Rohrabacher’s statement, which was issued two days after the Parkland shootings, did not sit well with members of Indivisible OC 48, the progressive group trying to flip the congressman’s 48th Congressional District seat to a Democrat. “We must remember that the Parkland shooter, like other mass shooters before him, was able to obtain his gun legally despite many red flags being raised by his community,” says Aaron McCall, Indivisible OC 48’s chairman. “Rohrabacher’s attempts to scapegoat a group of people in order to avoid doing his job—which is to create laws that protect and represent his constituents—are disappointing. It is clear that Americans are calling for laws that make it harder to get guns and to push for responsible gun ownership to minimize the risk that guns fall into the hands of those who would commit such heinous acts.”

Indivisible OC 48 is calling for bans on AR-15 assault rifles, such as the one used in Parkland, and bump stocks that helped lead to the Las Vegas massacre. The group also wants expanded firearm background checks, longer waiting periods, insurance for gun owners and tighter requirements for gun storage. But it claims to be stymied by politicians such as Rohrabacher, who during his 30 years in Congress has received $42,150 from the pro-gun lobby, including the NRA, which gives him an “A” grade for furthering its agenda.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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