Honolulu Civil Beat published a great story today on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s voting record on gun control. Reporter Nick Grube’s story is complex and nuanced, just like Gabbard’s record, which despite her progressive credentials, is not so easy to describe. Of course, her campaign website (Votetulsi.com) makes it all seem so simple.
“Tulsi has a consistent record of advocating for sensible gun control,” states her website. “She has long called for reinstating a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines, requiring comprehensive pre-purchase background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, and making sure that terrorists are not allowed to buy guns. Tulsi has an F-rating from the NRA, a 0% rating by the Hawaii Rifle Association, and a 100% rating by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She is focused on building bipartisan solutions that can actually be passed into law, rather than using the issue as a partisan political football.”
Gabbard’s campaign website also lists seven bills in which Gabbard voted for and/or co-sponsored some gun control measure and two pro-gun bills she voted against. But what’s really fascinating here is the first bill Gabbard mentions–HR 5087, “The Assault Weapons Ban of 2018,” is a prime example of the complexity Grube weaves into his story.
Yes, it’s true that Gabbard is co-sponsoring HR 5087. But it’s also true that while 164 Democrats (including Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D–Hawaii) signed onto the bill on Feb. 26 when Rep. David Cicilline, D–Rhode Island, introduced it, Gabbard didn’t agree to co-sponsor it until Mar. 1. In fact, Grube reported that Gabbard agreed to co-sponsor the bill exactly one day after actress Amber Tamblyn called out Gabbard by name on Twitter for not yet signing onto the bill.
What’s more, Tamblyn also incorrectly tweeted that Gabbard took $500 from the NRA. According to Grube, Gabbard has taken no money from the NRA, though she did take $400 from the Hawaii Rifle Association eight years ago.
See? Gabbard’s record is exceedingly complex. For liberals, she certainly seems to do the right thing, though it seems to take some prodding from activists and the public for her to do so.
“Like a lot of what Tulsi does, I sometimes find her actions inexplicable,” Colin Moore, associate professor of political science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is quoted as saying in Grube’s article. “Tulsi makes policy choices that are hard to explain.”
Photo courtesy U.S. Congress