This Democrat Doesn’t Want to Ban Assault Weapons. Republicans Are Attacking Him Anyway.

In the first major election after Parkland, the GOP isn’t backing off its pro-gun rhetoric.

Conor Lamb

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Next month’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, between Republican state Sen. Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb, will be the first congressional election after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. While many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have been put on the defensive by a series of massive student-led protests, the party hasn’t adjusted its rhetoric in the Trump-loving western Pennsylvania district. Here’s a campaign flyer distributed in an upscale neighborhood in the district by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC associated with the House Republican leadership:

Lamb mailer
CLF mailer

It touts Saccone’s NRA endorsement and attacks Lamb as a puppet of Nancy Pelosi—and Hillary Clinton!—who wants more gun control.

The irony here is that Lamb, a former prosecutor, doesn’t actually want much more gun control, and he’s taken some heat from Democrats because of it. At a recent debate, Lamb said he would not support a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15 reportedly used by the Florida shooter. He echoed a statement he made after the Florida shooting, saying that Congress should shore up existing safeguards rather than drafting new laws. (He did say he supported efforts to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows private sales of guns to be conducted without a background check.) For his part, Saccone also rejected the idea of an assault weapons ban and lamented that “the left’s first response is always to disarm law-abiding citizens whenever there’s an incident like this.”

The Republican attacks on Lamb are perhaps instructive for other Democratic candidates running in red districts. Even if you explicitly say you won’t support Nancy Pelosi, you’ll still be typecast as “Nancy’s little Lamb.” And you’ll be accused of grabbing guns even if you explicitly take gun control off the table.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate