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Will Congress Act on Guns After Sandy Hook, Buffalo, Uvalde?

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday in response to the School massacre in Texas. But the Democrat acknowledged Congress’s adamant opposition to previous legislation aimed at curbing the national epidemic of gun violence.

Schumer implored his fellow Republicans to brush aside the powerful gun lobby and reach down the aisle for equalization a modest compromise design. But no votes are planned.

“Please, please, please damn — just put yourself in the shoes of those parents,” Schumer said as he opened the Senate.

He threw his hands in the air at the prospect of a seemingly inevitable outcome: “If the slaughter of schoolchildren can’t convince Republicans to oppose the NRA, what can we do?”

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That Killing of at least 19 children and a teacher at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas has exposed the political reality that the US Congress has proven unwilling or unable to pass essential federal legislation to curb gun violence in America.

Congress could not approve a Firearms background check bill after the shooting of 20 kindergarteners at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost a decade ago, signaling the beginning of the end of federal gun violence legislation.

Despite the grief on Wednesday after the very similar massacre in Texas, it’s not at all clear that the outcome will be any different.

“We accept this as the new normal,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said on CBS Mornings. “It is our choice.”

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While President Joe Biden was saying “we must act,” large-scale gun violence legislation has been blocked by Republicans, often joined by a handful of conservative Democrats.

Despite increasing mass shootings in communities across the country – two in the last two weeks alone, inclusive Tuesday in Texas and the racist murder of black shoppers at a market in Buffalo, New York 10 days ago – lawmakers were unwilling to put aside their differences and defy the gun lobby to work out a compromise.

Even their own attacks failed to persuade Congress to act. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event Saturday morning outside a Tucson grocery store, and several Republican lawmakers on a congressional baseball team were shot dead during morning practice.

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“The conclusion is the same,” said Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J. “Right now I don’t see any of my fellow Republicans coming forward and saying, ‘Here’s a plan to stop the slaughter.’ So now it’s just normal, which is ridiculous.”

Murphy asked his peers for a compromise, saying he was reaching out to Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and called his Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who wrote the bill that failed after Sandy Hook.

“Every moment is just horrible, but when you have babies, little kids, as innocent as can be, oh god,” Manchin told reporters late Tuesday when news of the Texas shooting broke, noting that he had three school-age grandchildren.

“It just doesn’t make any sense at all why we can’t use common sense – common sense things – and try to prevent some of that.”

After Sandy Hook, the compromise bill, written by Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, was supported by a majority of senators. But it fell to a filibuster — blocked by most Republicans and a handful of Democrats unable to clear the 60-vote threshold needed for progress.

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The same bill was re-released in 2016 after a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

A modest effort to strengthen the state’s background check system for gun purchases made it into law in Florida after the 2018 Parkland school shooting. The “Fix NICS” measure, which gave states money to comply with the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check system and penalize federal agencies that didn’t, stalled on its own before being plugged into a broader bill was needed to keep the government going.

Former President Donald Trump promised to take action in 2019 Successive mass shootings shook the nation when a gunman opened fire at an El Paso mall and another aimed at a popular Ohio nightspot, killing dozens. In 2018, his administration banned bump stocks, the attachments that can be used to fire semi-automatic weapons such as machine guns, that were used during the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre.

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But Trump eventually backed down from the proposals, both times under pressure from the National Rifle Association and other groups.

Biden, whose party barely controls Congress, has failed to push gun control legislation past the now mostly Republican opposition in the Senate.

Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearm purchases. A loophole for private and online sales would have been closed. The other would have extended the background check period in response to the church shooting of blacks by a white man in South Carolina.

Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority due to Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to cast a decisive vote, but need at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster.

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The standoff has again called for this to be lifted Senate Filibuster Rules for legislation, as the Senate has already done for nominations, lowering the threshold to a majority of 51 votes for passage.

“Why go through all the hassle of getting that job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, when your answer is that when the carnage increases and our children run for their lives, we do nothing?” Murphy said in a fiery one Speaking late Tuesday as news of the Texas massacre broke.

Cornyn told reporters he was on his way to Texas and would speak to them later. Cruz issued a statement calling it “a dark day.” We are all completely disgusted and heartbroken.”

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Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram, and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/25/will-congress-act-on-guns-after-sandy-hook-buffalo-uvalde/ Will Congress Act on Guns After Sandy Hook, Buffalo, Uvalde?

Sarah Y. Kim

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