Sen. Thom Tillis hails from North Carolina. It’s a state with its own bit of rocky history with gun control. So maybe Tillis thought his support for the bipartisan gun control bill would be overlooked, all things considered, by gun rights advocates.
If that’s the case, he really didn’t think things through very well.
After all, Second Amendment supporters are notorious for not giving lawmakers a pass. That’s something Tillis may have learned.
On June 24, around 100 gun rights activists picketed outside of the Raleigh office of Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis over his involvement in the recently passed gun control bill, the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022.”
The protest was organized by North Carolina’s largest gun rights advocacy group, Grassroots North Carolina (GRNC). Also represented at the protest was the national firearms group, Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the crowd gathered heard from Stephen Willeford, the hero who engaged and eventually stopped the Sutherland Springs Church shooter in 2017 in Texas.
Tillis was referred to as “Traitor Thom” and North Carolina’s other Sen. Richard Burr was dubbed “Benedict Burr” throughout the remarks made by speakers at the event.
Tillis was among the four senators identified as main authors of the Safer Communities Act (SCA) along with Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
“If you do not know, Senator Tillis closed his office today because he did not want to hear from us,” GOA Director for North Carolina and Vice President of Operations for GRNC Andy Stevens said at the onset of the protest. “He did not even want his staff to hear from us and he apparently told the courthouse people that because his office is closed, [that] we are not here on official business and therefore they will not let us in the building to see for certain whether his office is open or closed or even use the restrooms.”
If that’s true, then it’s kind of a jerk move by Tillis.
Then again, he helped author a gun control bill. I think it’s safe to say he’s fully capable of jerk moves by this point.
Here’s the thing we all–myself included–need to keep in mind. None of these senators are worried. They’re not afraid of the political repercussions in any way, shape, or form. Not right now, anyway.
Tillis was just re-elected in 2020. He’s going to hold that seat until 2027. He’s banking on you forgetting about this before he has to run again. He’s hoping he can do enough other things that gun rights supporters will let this one slide.
Absolutely none of the Republican lawmakers are concerned. They know their seats are safe for a while anyway.
Not only that, but they know you’re not likely to vote for a Democrat when they run, either.
We now know why, when Republicans held both chambers of Congress and the White House, we couldn’t get any pro-gun legislation passed. It’s because they have no respect for your passion or fear of earning your wrath.
And here’s the thing. I don’t think they’re wrong.
Gun rights supporters are passionate and can be single-issue voters, but we’re a minority, even among the GOP. While I question polling that claims most Republicans want gun control, I do admit that most Republicans aren’t as driven by gun rights as folks like you and I are.
Tillis may be refusing to listen, but unless voters make him and the rest of his colleagues listen, why should they?