Ex-GOP Congressman Says Republicans Will Never Do Anything on Gun Control: 'Nothing, Ever'

An ex-Republican congressman has condemned his former party for doing little on gun control in the wake of yet more mass shootings, calling ex-colleagues and their voters "constitutionally ignorant" regarding the Second Amendment.

Over the weekend, two deadly shootings put the gun control debate front and center of American politics once again, the first a white nationalist terror attack in El Paso, Texas, and the second an attack on a bar in Dayton, Ohio, by a leftist suspect whose motive is unknown.

In El Paso, the alleged shooter Patrick Crusius, 21, posted a hate-filled manifesto against Hispanic migrants before shooting 22 people dead at a Walmart. The manifesto used the same anti-immigrant "invasion" rhetoric as President Donald Trump. He was arrested and jailed without bond.

In Dayton, Connor Betts, 24, who had a history of violent misogyny, killed nine at Ned Peppers Bar, including his own sister, before police shot him dead. Police are still investigating what Betts' motive could have been.

David Jolly, a former U.S. representative from Florida, told MSNBC that focusing on Trump "gives a pass to the broader Republican Party" because "it is their silence that has normalized this escalation of this narrative across this country."

El Paso Texas shooting Walmart
Law enforcement agencies respond to an active shooter at a Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, August 3. JOEL ANGEL JUAREZ/AFP/Getty Images

"It's their inaction on gun control, reasonable gun control measures. I include myself in that. Look, I tried to move the needle within the party and I failed, and it's important in this moment to acknowledge it," Jolly, who is now an independent, said.

"I find myself today offering the same insight I did the night of the Parkland shooting a few hours from our home in Florida, which is this: Republicans will never do anything on gun control. Nothing, ever. They won't.

"Think about Las Vegas—they did nothing when 500 people were injured. The Pulse Nightclub, 50 killed. The question for the nation was: Do we allow terrorists, suspected terrorists, to buy firearms? Republicans did nothing. Parkland, they did nothing.

"Emanuel AME in South Carolina, nothing. Go to Sandy Hook in Connecticut, nothing. The Jewish temple in Pittsburgh, nothing. The Jewish temple in San Diego, nothing. Sutherland Springs, evangelical church in Texas, nothing.

"Now we have Texas, now we have Ohio in the same weekend, and all we get is silence. So I say that because if this is the issue that informs your ideology, as a voter, the strength to draw in this moment is to commit to beating Republicans."

Jolly urged Democrats: "Beat 'em. Beat every single one of 'em. Even the safe ones in the House. Beat 'em. Beat 'em in the Senate. Take back the Senate."

Moreover, Jolly said those Republicans who believe the Second Amendment "was envisioned to protect gun rights in this moment of national tragedy, to allow carnage with weapons of war" are "fundamentally, constitutionally ignorant."

"And if you know that's not what it protects and you continue to do nothing, you're worse than constitutionally ignorant, you're a scoundrel. And all I can ever think of in this moment when I see Republicans do absolutely nothing is your time is coming," Jolly said.

Republicans who oppose stricter rules around guns seek to shift the conversation onto mental health, arguing that this is the true cause of mass shootings, though their opponents point to other countries that do not have guns and do not experience similar violence.

Trump, who also pushed the focus onto mental health as he faced criticism over his own nationalist rhetoric in the wake of the El Paso shooting, did raise the issue of gun control—but tied it to the immigration reforms he cannot pass through the Democrat-controlled House.

"We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them," Trump tweeted Monday.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"