South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott hinted that he was firmly behind enacting tighter gun legislation in the wake of a deadly mass school shooting in Florida, but a closer look at his longstanding support for the Second Amendment suggests he’s merely playing politics.
The lone Black GOP U.S. senator is one of the darlings of the National Rifle Association, which gave him an “A” rating. He received that high grade from the gun lobby for opposing more restrictive gun control laws, voting against banning high-capacity magazines, co-sponsoring the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, and supporting several other NRA positions in the senate.
Scott “speaks from the heart” in his defense of gun rights, said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA’s political action committee. Cox added: “Tim backs up his commitment to our Second Amendment Rights with one of the strongest pro-gun and pro-freedom voting records in the Senate.”
Scott, like many others in the GOP, is largely expressing pseudo sympathy for the school shooting survivors while giving lip service about finding solutions. His so-called fix is a good first step, but would fail to stop potential mass shooters who can legitimately pass the background check.
Why is Scott shouting about his part in pushing this legislation? Perhaps it’s because he feels pressure from many folks in his home state. The background check system failed tragically when the White supremacist Dylann Roof bought a .45-caliber handgun and slaughtered Black worshippers in 2015 at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Roof had a drug possession charge on his record.
Scott is doing the minimum to avoid criticism while continuing to support the NRA’s gun rights agenda.
The senator is underscoring his co-sponsorship for the so-called “Fix NICS Act.” The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is the federal system that determines the eligibility of an individual to purchase a firearm. An inquiry instantly notifies gun dealers if the prospective buyer has a criminal record or other factors that should block the sale. More than 230 million checks resulted in 1.3 million denials, according to the FBI.