Opinion: Will Congress Act on Gun Regulation After the Mass Shootings?

Daniella Cressman

Gun control in America has been a contentious issue for years, but it looks as though the people of this country have finally had enough of it: outrage has struck the nation, and around 90% of those residing in the United States, regardless of political affiliation, want background checks.

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Colin Lloyd

Currently, this policy varies by state. That being said, it can be difficult to get the full picture of who someone is—even if they do not have any criminal history or a diagnosed mental health condition—during one or two transactions.

Furthermore, it seems sinfully unnecessary to sell a teenager an assault rifle—meant for killing human beings—over the counter, especially when they are not even allowed to drink alcohol.

Unfortunately, despite what the majority of the American people want, those asking for stricter gun regulations seem to be swimming upstream.

"The killing Tuesday of at least 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has laid bare the political reality that the U.S. Congress has proven unwilling or unable to pass substantial federal legislation to curb gun violence in America." —Lisa Mascaro

The general consensus among many Republicans is that armed security guards are needed to protect the school: gun control legislation has not been passed for quite some time as a result.

The tragic incident that occurred in Connecticut in 2012, unfortunately, did not result in the kind of action a lot of people had hoped for, despite many Democrats begging their colleagues to make a change due to the urgency of the situation: it was already too late then, in the minds and hearts of most.

"In many ways, the end of any gun violence legislation in Congress was signaled a decade ago when the Senate failed to approve a firearms background check bill after 20 children, mostly 6- and 7-year-olds, were killed when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Despite the outpouring of grief Wednesday after the starkly similar Texas massacre, it’s not at all clear there will be any different outcome." —Lisa Mascaro

Sadly, it seems that there is a lot of friction when it comes to proposing stricter gun laws.

"While President Joe Biden said “we have to act,” substantial gun violence legislation has been blocked routinely by Republicans, often with a handful of conservative Democrats" —Lisa Mascaro

In my mind, we are in dire straits as a nation and must enforce stricter regulations as soon as possible. The vast majority of Americans feel the same way, yet it seems that quite a few lawmakers are set on keeping things the way they are.

"Despite mounting mass shootings in communities nationwide — two in the past two weeks alone, including Tuesday in Texas and the racist killing of Black shoppers at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket 10 days earlier — lawmakers have been unwilling to set aside their differences and abandon the gun lobby to work out any compromise." —Lisa Mascaro

This issue has been so valid that even Republican politicians have lost their lives as a result of gun violence in this country.

"Even the targeting of their own failed to move Congress to act. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was severely injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice in 2017." —Lisa Mascaro

Many argue that stronger security in schools would not solve the root of the problem: We should practice offense instead of defense, so to speak.

"Republicans quickly pushed forward a bill championed by Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin that would create a nationwide database of school safety practices. But Schumer objected to its immediate consideration, vowing a much broader debate and votes." —Lisa Mascaro

This should be debated because many members of the police force, and the institution itself, are arguably quite corrupt already in the way they punish civilians.

It seems to me that there is a lot of killing when there does not need to be. Personally, I would have trouble trusting a lot of police officers to handle themselves correctly if they were suspicious of certain students.

"In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, compromise legislation, written by Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, was backed by a majority of senators. But it fell to a filibuster — blocked by most Republicans and a handful of Democrats, unable to overcome the 60-vote threshold needed to advance." —Lisa Mascaro

It makes you wonder just how much money many of these republicans who will not budge on this issue are pocketing from the gun lobby.

"The same bill flamed out again in 2016, after a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida." —Lisa Mascaro

The heartbreaking pattern of mass shootings in America has, however, swayed the hearts of some: Pat Toomey—a republican—is determined to improve and expand background checks: he believes this is a devastatingly necessary step in the right direction, considering he has young children of his own.

“My interest in doing something to improve and expand our background check system remains.” —Pat Toomey

Despite the strong feelings about this issue and the intense disagreement on how to solve the problem— Better security measures versus stricter gun control laws—it seems that the two parties may have found some semblance of common ground: red flag laws.

"So-called red or yellow flag laws, already on the books in some states, allow authorities to temporarily seize firearms from people who are found to be dangers to themselves or others."—Scott Wong and Frank thorp V

While this is arguably not quite as effective as not giving these people guns in the first place, it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

"One known deal-maker, Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona, told reporters Wednesday she’ll start having conversations with senators on red flag laws or others. In the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he would bring a federal red flag bill forward for a vote, expected the week of June 6 in the run-up to the midterm elections." —Lisa Mascaro

One Republican senator is adamant that gun bans and gun regulations are two very different things, and it's possible to celebrate the second amendment right so many hold dear while also upholding responsible and safe measures when it comes to selling assault weapons over the counter to individuals who may have so much anger running through their veins that they could lose control and kill a lot of innocent people.

“We can find ways to preserve the intent of the Second Amendment while also safeguarding the lives of our children.” —Bil Frist

In short, it seems that we are on the way to getting to the point where authorities would be allowed to take guns away from people who were a danger to themselves or others, but that many lawmakers have not yet gotten to the point where they find it unacceptable for the NRA to sell these people assault weapons in the first place.

This is not exactly what the American people want, but perhaps it is a small swing of the pendulum that could result in stronger changes in the future.

One can only hope.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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