WASHINGTON, D.C. — Politicians from both parties say the chances of major gun control legislation passing in a split Congress are bleak, even as President Joe Biden says he has done everything he can to combat gun violence through executive action.
The latest mass shooting in the United States, a massacre at a Christian school in Nashville, appears to be a familiar story: calls for broad gun reform, followed by inaction.
Joseph Biden: Without Congress, there are no more options
Renewing the push: Following Monday’s horrific shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Biden reaffirmed his call for Congress to reinstate the nation’s prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004 after ten years in effect. He also wants Lawmakers to tighten loopholes that allow gun sellers to avoid doing background checks.
‘War weapons’: “How in God’s name do we let these war weapons on our streets and in our schools?” Biden stated on Tuesday. “I never imagined that guns would be the number one murderer of children in America when I began my public career.”
Biden is looking to Congress: Biden stated that he has used the “full extent” of his executive authority on guns after adopting many executive measures on the subject in his first two years in office. “Congress must take action.”
Recent legislative history suggests a legislative long shot
But the Republican-controlled House lacks the necessary votes to pass an assault weapon prohibition. Despite a string of mass shootings that have once again brought attention to the ease of obtaining AR-15s and other semi-automatic guns, it still faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-led Senate.
A Democratic-backed assault weapons prohibition was narrowly approved by the House, which was under Democratic control, by a vote of 217–213, in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, last year.
Since the shooting in Nashville, Democrats no longer hold a majority in the House, and House Republicans have made no indications that they are prepared to change their opposition.
Last year’s bill was never considered by the Senate because it lacked the necessary 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. But, it was unclear whether all Democratic senators backed the plan, which is still the case in a Senate that Democrats now control 51-49.
Republicans’ comments on guns in the wake of the attack in Nashville are, “Not the answer”
Biden and Democrats were accused of politicizing the shooting in Nashville by House Majority Leader Steve Scalise due to their calls for an assault weapons ban. He stated during a news conference on Tuesday that “all they want to do is take guns away from law-abiding folks before they even know the facts.” “And it is not the solution,”
Republicans in the Tennessee House continue to resist stricter gun laws, the location of the most recent mass shooting. Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee told reporters on Monday, “We’re not going to solve it.” Criminals will continue to commit crimes.
Conservatives had more objections to Audrey Hale, the shooting suspect who is 28 years old, being transgender than they did to the use of assault-style weapons in the incident. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, tweeted: “If early reports that a trans gunman targeted a Christian school are true, the extreme left has to do a lot of soul-searching.” Giving in to these viewpoints is risky rather than compassionate.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, urged federal law enforcement to look into the massacre as a possible act of religious hatred. He declared on the House floor on Tuesday that “this homicidal spree, this taking of innocent life was a horrendous crime, but more precisely, it was a hate crime.”
A ray of hope for gun-control advocates?
Despite long-standing differences on guns, a bipartisan group of lawmakers last year approved legislation in the aftermath of the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings that, while less stringent than Biden’s preference, provided incentives for states to implement red-flag gun laws and enhanced background checks on young buyers.
After the shooting in Nashville, there is a ray of optimism for gun control supporters, but it is unlikely to be on the scale they desire.
The bipartisan gun legislation’s main proponent, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, claimed there aren’t enough votes to move the Senate forward. “Until someone points out some area that we didn’t address, I would believe we’ve gone about as far as we can.”
He claimed that the assault weapon prohibition suggested by Biden “would necessitate the confiscation of 16 million semiautomatic guns that are owned by law-abiding persons,” repeats talking points, and has no support in Congress.
Can Democrats compel the Senate to vote on a ban on assault weapons?
Senate Democrats should at some point think about forcing a vote on an assault weapons ban to assess where senators stand, according to Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has spearheaded the effort for gun control in the Senate. Mass shootings drastically decreased when the 1994 prohibition went into effect, but they increased when it was lifted.
Charles Schumer, the majority leader, was hesitant to bring a bill to the floor, though. He declared, “We’re working hard to obtain enough votes to pass it.
Democrats don’t appear to be optimistic about legislation requiring universal background checks for firearms. Although adding, “I’m a realist,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he would like to take up a bill to enhance background checks.
Summary of the Covenant School Massacre
NASHVILLE, Tenn. According to police, a former pupil fired through the doors of a Christian elementary school on Monday, killing three children and three adults after meticulously plotting the murder with a precise map and surveillance of the institution.
The killing at The Covenant School in Nashville was the latest in a string of mass shootings in a society increasingly alarmed by school violence.
Three 9-year-old children, the school’s chief administrator, a substitute teacher, and a custodian were among those killed. A familiar ritual played out amid the chaos: panicked parents hurried to the school to check on their children’s safety and tearfully hugged them, while a surprised community arranged vigils for the victims.
“I was moved to tears seeing this and the kids being escorted out of the facility,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at one of many press conferences.
Authorities provided conflicting information on the gender of the shooter, who was fatally shot by two responding cops at the school. For hours, police identified the gunman as a 28-year-old woman, who was later identified as Audrey Hale. The police chief then revealed that Hale was transgender during a late-afternoon press conference. Don Aaron, a police spokeswoman, declined to elaborate on how Hale is now identified after the news conference.