America's most vulnerable senator does not want to talk to the public. Especially about his record on guns.
The previous few weeks of gun control activism have done nothing to change Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).
Despite holding public office in the state of that experienced the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history, Heller hid from a White House meeting on gun violence and policy, and neither his office nor the Trump administration will explain his absence.
Immediately after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Heller tweeted that he was “heartbroken for those impacted” and “praying for the victims and their families.” And we all know what that means. Heller is refusing to have real conversations on gun legislation, and he’s hiding from everyone.
His failure to show at the White House alongside lawmakers from California, Texas and Florida is only the latest in a series of evasive actions.
From since the town hall when he let police eject a cancer patient for protesting his tax vote, Heller’s public appearances have been scarce.
His policy statements are just as evasive. Heller has issued multiple statements touting his vote on tax cuts for billionaires — a bill so toxic the GOP is now pulling ads defending it. But he has put out absolutely nothing on gun policy.
One reason for the silence might be that Heller, broadly considered the most vulnerable senator facing re-election, is out of touch with constituents on guns.
In 2013, Heller marched in lockstep with the GOP to block a gun control compromise to expand background checks to every gun sale in America. This idea is so basic that even 97 percent of Republicans support it.
In fact, in 2016, just a year before the Las Vegas shooting, Nevadans approved a ballot initiative to implement such universal background checks in their own state. This law now sits unenforced because state attorney general Adam Laxalt — Heller’s fellow Republican and NRA darling — proclaimed it invalid.
Heller, like Laxalt, is an NRA favorite. The gun lobby has spent over $100,000 keeping him in office, and gave him an A rating. Not surprisingly, after the Vegas shooting happened, Heller went on TV and pledged to uphold gun rights.
Senators should be prepared to listen to the concerns of their voters and make them heard in Washington. As Heller’s record and evasive behavior make clear, he is prepared to do neither of those things.
Nevadans should remember that this fall and hold him accountable.