BY APRIL THOMPSON, WREG
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida, all eyes are on lawmakers with many calling for stronger gun laws.
But many are also asking can anything change with the National Rifle Association having such a strong influence on politics?
National reports say the NRA has pumped more than $4 million to members of Congress over last 20 years.
“It’s kind of hard to argue that if they are being given a lot of money they are gonna vote in certain ways based on who the money is coming from,” said Caroline Fitzgerald of Virginia.
Lawmakers from Tennessee are among those raking in the funds.
One of those is Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.
WREG found several NRA Political Victory Fund Contributions to her campaign from 2011 to 2016, ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 a pop.
The Washington Post labeled Blackburn as the Tennessee Congresswoman getting the most money from the NRA since 2002, totaling more than $32,000.
“Those are our lawmakers, so if they are getting donations from the people that control or have the most to contribute about gun laws, like the NRA, then it’s like fighting a losing battle because the people that can change it are on their side already,” said Sam Edwards of Raleigh.
Federal Election Commission records show Blackburn wasn’t alone.
Tennessee’s two Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, also accepted NRA Political Victory Fund Campaign Contributions. Alexander’s contributions dated back to 2008, from $1,000 to $1,400.
The Washington Post summed up Alexander’s NRA campaign contributions at more than $14,000 over the last 20 years.
FEC filings show Sen. Bob Corker’s campaign also received contributions from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars from 2011 – 2012.
The Post reports Corker raked in close to $10,000 since 1998 from the NRA.
“Something has to change. As long as they are giving money to people in Congress, there is a conflict of interest,” Fitzgerald said.
But others say it’s not the guns or the NRA that’s the problem.
“I think the biggest problem is the mental capabilities of the people who are getting they hands on them,” said Lorenzo Blade of Bartlett. “That’s where we need to focus more on.”