Sen. Alexander says NRA contributions 'don't matter' after being featured in gun control ad

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - In the wake of the Florida school shooting, advertisement by a gun control group puts a bulls-eye on some Mid-South lawmakers and their contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Gun control advocates said those contributions from the NRA are why they've refused to put any firearm restrictions in place.

That ad was published by Everytown for Gun Safety in Wednesday's New York Times.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who was in the ad, was in Memphis on Wednesday.

"In our country, under the Constitution, any individual, any group has a right to support whomever they want," Alexander said. "The contributions to me don't matter really. I often don't know what they are, and my job is to look at the issue, and try to decide what the right things to do is, and I've done that."

He added that just because he receives a contribution from a group doesn't mean they'll always get his vote.

"My goal is to have more effective background checks, more effective laws that respect the Second Amendment," Alexander said.

"I think a lot of times people donate to campaigns because they want to be able to access the politician in meetings and be able to explain their position," political consultant Steven Reid said.

Reid added that contributions from a wide variety of lobbying groups are common on all sides of the aisle. He went on to say it's a way for candidates to appeal to a broad base.

"It takes millions of dollars to run a campaign today, and anybody running for Congress or the U.S. Senate is going to have to have money for the lifeblood of their campaign," Reid said.

Still, Democrats are using Republican support of the NRA to push for gun control.

"They get a lot of money from the NRA and because they get a lot of support from people who support guns in their primaries so there's a vote issue and a political money issue," Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said to a group of states at White Station High School on Tuesday.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to several lawmakers for their reaction on being mentioned in the ad.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) responded with the following statement:

"I have long supported improving how our background check system operates, while at the same time ensuring that Second Amendment rights are not infringed upon. The Fix NICS Act meets that test, and I am proud to be a cosponsor of this piece of legislation. It is very important that federal agencies and state governments take the time to comply with existing federal law and submit the relevant information to NICS in order to ensure that those who have lost their right to possess a firearm are prohibited from purchasing one."

No other lawmakers responded to requests for comment.

Alexander also said on Wednesday that lawmakers can't stand and do nothing when it comes to gun control.

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