Though they publicly attack Republicans who offered the same, a leaked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee email warned House Democrats to avoid coming out in favor of gun control in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas and to instead offer “thoughts and prayers.”
The memo in question was reportedly sent by DCCC regional press staffer Evan Lukaske and acquired by the Huffington Post, who posted screenshots of the message.
“You and your candidate will be understandably outraged and upset, as will your community. However, DO NOT POLITICIZE IT TODAY. There will be time for politics and policy discussion, but any message today should be on offering thoughts/prayers for victims and their families, and thanking 1st responders who saved lives,” wrote Lukaske.
58 people were killed and over 600 were wounded in the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Shooter Stephen Paddock purchased 55 weapons, mostly rifles, less than one year before the massacre; his use of bump stocks in the shooting was cited by President Donald Trump in asking the Justice Department to ban the devices and other devices that “turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
The day after the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, the DCCC said “stay strong and keep faith” in a message to “those affected by the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas.”
They would not tweet anything about gun control until October 24th, when they hit House Majority Leader Paul Ryan for failing to ban bump stocks, something that even the NRA supported in the wake of the shooting.
By their measure, the DCCC was quicker to “politicize” the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Just over one week after 17 died, the DCCC tweeted “When kids are killed, they send thoughts and prayers. It’s unacceptable. #GunReformNow.”
Teenage survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on the other hand, leaped into the gun debate before they’d even finished burying their classmates with their #NeverAgain campaign to put pressure on lawmakers to act. Students across the country would mobilize to denounce the inaction of politicians and authorities in stirring protests.