Oliver Contreras/AFP through Getty Images
President Biden is renewing his name on Congress to ban assault weapons within the wake of the school shooting in Nashville, Tenn., which killed three college students and three workers members.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department stated in a press release the shooter was “heavily armed with three guns, two of them assault-type weapons.”
“People say, why do I keep saying this if it’s not happening?” Biden stated, referring to his frequent appeal for such a ban. “Because I want you to know who isn’t doing it, who isn’t helping, to put pressure on them.”
The Nashville incident is the newest in 130 mass taking pictures incidents to date this yr, according to data from the nationwide Gun Violence Archive.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 2 in Senate GOP management, instructed reporters Tuesday it is “premature” to have discussions on potential laws within the wake of the assault.
“There’s an ongoing investigation and I think we need to let the facts come out,” he stated.
Senate chaplain urges for greater than “thoughts and prayers”
“As a nation, we owe these families more than our prayers. We owe them action,” Biden stated Tuesday.
His feedback echo remarks from the chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black, who opened Tuesday’s legislative session by imploring lawmakers to take motion within the aftermath of the lethal taking pictures.
“When babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.'”
— Senate @Chaplain_Black #Nashvile pic.twitter.com/7nP11shNmR
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 28, 2023
“Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers,” stated Black, who has been the Senate chaplain since 2003. “Remind our lawmakers of the words of the British statesman Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who was shot during a congressional baseball practice in 2017, instructed reporters on Tuesday he will get “really angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda.”
“The first thing in any kind of tragedy that I do is, I pray,” he stated. “I pray for the victims, I pray for their families.”
He stated Congress might think about tighter college safety procedures and psychological well being sources.
“The first thing [Democrats] talk about is taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, and that’s not the answer,” he stated.
A well-recognized uphill battle in a divided Congress
Biden, who has additionally taken executive action on weapons, signed into legislation final yr the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in roughly three decades.
The legislation was the results of bipartisan negotiations after two mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas that occurred inside two weeks of one another.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act consists of incentives for states to cross so-called crimson flag legal guidelines that permit teams to petition courts to take away weapons from folks deemed a menace to themselves or others.
The invoice additionally expands background checks on folks ages 18-21 and closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole” with a legislation that forestalls folks convicted of home abuse from proudly owning a gun. The laws expanded that to incorporate courting companions, fairly than simply spouses and former spouses.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who was a lead negotiator on that bipartisan gun deal, stated Tuesday the main focus within the Senate has been on background checks, to stop these with psychological well being issues or felony information from buying or possessing firearms.
“That is the area where we’ve had bipartisan consensus,” he instructed reporters.
“The only thing I hear the administration arguing for is an assault weapons ban, which would mean, I suppose that the 16 million people who own semiautomatic rifles would have to give those up — they’d be confiscated,” Cornyn stated.
“I don’t know what other purpose would be served,” he stated, including: “If there’s something that can be done while respecting the rights of law-abiding citizens, I’m certainly open to talking about it.”
But Cornyn stated there weren’t any talks with the bipartisan Senate group that crafted final yr’s bundle that the president signed, and he cautioned it was too early to know particular particulars concerning the taking pictures in Nashville to suggest a particular legislative response.
An assault-style weapons ban does not have a political future within the Republican-controlled House or within the Senate, the place Democrats have a really slim majority.
Cornyn stated the improved background checks of the 2022 laws is “actually working pretty well.”
“The director of the FBI has told us that the national criminal background check system already has stopped the sale of about 100 different gun transactions to juveniles or people purchasing with juvenile records showing they’re disqualified by virtue of mental illness or crime,” he stated.
House Democrats mentioned efforts to extend stress for legislative motion at their weekly caucus assembly Tuesday
According to a supply current within the assembly, leaders urged members to proceed urgent House GOP leaders to take up gun management measures.
South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn is reintroducing his invoice to shut the so-called “Charleston loophole” that permits the sale of a gun even when background examine is not full.
A gaggle of Democrats — Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Lucy McBath of Georgia, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Jerry Nadler of New York — are calling on House Speaker McCarthy to schedule a vote on the assault weapons ban that handed the House final yr.
“Children should not have to fear for their lives or plan for how to defend themselves against shooters armed with assault rifles. They should not have to plan to play dead, or practice locking themselves in bulletproof rooms, or listen for loud bangs in their hallways,” the letter reads. “Teenage survivors shouldn’t have to lobby lawmakers to pass commonsense legislation, or demand action in the streets of Washington or the halls of the Capitol. This is not their job. It’s ours. And we have failed.”