By now, it has become fairly evident that many members of the GOP are heavy proponents of guns, and seemingly not only in the laws that govern them. Even after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and faculty dead, many major Republican candidates failed to condemn the lax gun laws in the country, and disregarded calls for bipartisan agreements to make it more difficult to acquire firearms. As gun lobbies such as the National Rifle Association continue to play a large part in their decision making, influencing them through campaign contributions and manipulating the narrative surrounding gun reform, it is apparent that some representatives are taking their gun-toting mentalities way too far in order to win over gun favoring constituents.
On Tuesday, one representative took this idea completely out of line, seemingly claiming that he wanted to use a Democratic colleague of his for target practice. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) tweeted a photo of himself on Tuesday showcasing a button with a letter “F” on it, signifying the grade that the NRA had given him in regards to gun legislation. The congressman claimed he wore the grade proudly, and that he will continue to keep up this effort in an attempt to get his Republican colleagues to join him in the battle for more comprehensive gun laws.
I’m so proud of my @NRA rating, I’ll wear it on my chest. I invite my colleagues to join me in wearing our F ratings every day until the GOP finally stands up to the gun lobby and helps us pass common sense gun safety legislation. Find me to get a pin. #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/sOECS54QOK
— Rep. John Yarmuth (@RepJohnYarmuth) March 19, 2018
However, one of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle used this as a means to attack Yarmuth for being so proud of standing up against gun lobbies. Specifically so, Kentucky candidate for secretary of state, seemingly jokingly, claimed in a tweet that was deleted shortly after posting that Yarmuth should move the “F” button over a bit, because he “was trained center mass.”
— Josh Mers (@JoshMers4KY) March 20, 2018
The center mass comment refers to the concept of aiming and shooting an individual in the center torso, as opposed to targeting the limbs, because it is an easier target to hit when one is shooting another person. The ill-advised and highly controversial post was quickly removed from Nett’s account, and later replaced by what seems to be an explanation and justification. In the later tweet, Nett claimed that he has an oath to the Constitution, and that he has protected politicians such as Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats, despite his disagreements with their ideals.
Friends, I protected Barack Obama, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton. I voted for none of them. I would have DIED for any of them. My oath is to the Constitution. ALL politicians should keep that oath, first and foremost.
— Carl B. Nett (@realCarlNett) March 20, 2018
The initial tweet by Nett came under scrutiny immediately, drawing the attention of the FBI’s branch in Louisville, as they announced they were probing into the issue at hand. A spokesperson from Rep. Yarmuth’s office also claimed that Capitol Police were made aware of the aggressive comments made by Nett on Twitter.
In light of the Maryland school shooting today and countless other shootings so far in 2018, Carl Nett should drop out of the race immediately. These comments are disgusting and not befitting of any public official or anyone seeking public office. https://t.co/H2JRlBa2N4
— Jarrett Cox (@TheJarrettCox) March 20, 2018
Regardless of whether or not Nett’s post was made in a joking matter, it sheds light on the fact that firearms and the use of guns in the country has become a joke for the GOP and the gun lobbies who support unrestricted gun laws. Despite the fact that gun violence has increased exponentially, and continues to rise in frequency, Republicans have failed to inherently consider the severity of the issue at hand, poking fun at gun reform as a means of appealing to a minority of their constituents.
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