Whether you are for it or against it, gun control is again leading the national conversation after the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival Sunday night left 59 people dead and more than 520 injured.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics examined 2016 campaign donations to House members and discovered that a bit more than half of them received money from gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America.
These donations went almost entirely to Republicans. Of the 232 House members accepting money from gun rights organizations, only nine were Democrats. In all, gun rights advocacy groups gave $5.9 million to Republicans and $106,000 to Democrats.
Politico reported Tuesday that it was the “most money gun lobbyists have given in a campaign year since at least 1990.”
The Center for Responsive Politics identified House Speaker Paul Ryan as the top recipient with at $171,977. Former Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, who is now secretary of the Interior, was No. 2 on the list at $79,068.
The reelection campaigns of Valley Republicans benefited from the donations of the NRA and other groups, too.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield pulled in $42,000. Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents the eastern Valley mountains and foothills, received $19,650 and Rep. David Valadao of Hanford took in $17,150. Jeff Denham of Turlock received $12,800 and Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare $4,500.
Rep. Jim Costa, a Fresno Democrat, got nothing from the gun groups in 2016. Rep. Jerry McNerney, a Stockton Democrat, also was goose-egged.
Here are other stories from the Valley, state and nation catching our eye today:
Senate Majority Leader Deflects Gun Questions
“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this that just happened in the last day and a half. It’s entirely premature to be discussing about legislative solutions,” Sen. Mitch McConnell told CNN.
More on Las Vegas Massacre
Police recovered 23 guns from shooter Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel room. Some of the weapons had been modified, and several of the rifles had scopes.
Another 19 guns and thousands of rounds of ammo and explosives were recovered from Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada.
At least one of the rifles the gunman had in his hotel suite was outfitted with a “bump stock,” a device that would enable it to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, a law enforcement official told The New York Times.
Police say that Paddock shot into crowd for up to 15 minutes.
The Times additionally reports, “Authorities on Tuesday continued looking for a motive in one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States, scouring the personal and financial history of the gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64. The same law enforcement official said Mr. Paddock wired thousands of dollars to the Philippines and the FBI was scrutinizing the transaction.”
Investigators have yet to uncover a motive for Paddock’s mass shooting spree.
Sanger native and Disneyland employee Jessica Milam is among the seriously injured, The Fresno Bee reports.
Officials said three Kern County residents were killed in the shooting – Jack Beaton, Bailey Schweitzer and Victor Link.
Family confirmed former Coalinga resident Bo Taylor and his companion Denise Cohen were also killed, ABC30 reported.
And police in Bakersfield said that an officer, Aaron Mundhenke, was wounded while attending the concert with other off-duty officers. KGET-TV 17 in Bakersfield reported Rachel Sheppard of Tehachapi was in critical condition.
‘Maybe California Has Reason to be Paranoid’
Dan Walters writes in his latest CALmatters column: “(T)wo events last week bolster the notion that California is being targeted by the Trump administration, a Republican Congress and even the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.”
Chukchansi Tribe Holds Open Enrollment Before Election
“For the first time many in the tribe could remember, the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians announced it will allow open enrollment, mere days before its annual council election Saturday,” reports Mark Evan Smith of the Sierra Star.