HE ONGOING TRAGEDY: Since the murder of 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012, there have been over 3,500 mass murders in the United States — and a persistent failure of politicians to pass even a minor bill on background checks — despite polls that show the public overwhelmingly supports gun curbs.
NO HORROR — not killings at elementary schools, in synagogues, at night clubs — has been sufficient to prompt Congress to move. Joe Biden, who for years has failed to win any kind of gun curbs, conceded last night that legislation is unlikely because of the Senate’s filibuster.
THE KILLINGS AT SANDY HOOK AND OTHER SCHOOLS have produced outraged pledges to toughen laws, but the latest shootings in Buffalo and Texas won’t change any laws. Could these horrors affect the November election outlook? Perhaps it will fuel high turnout, just as striking down Roe v. Wade also may motivate the Democrats’ base.
THERE WILL BE MORE SHOOTINGS, prompting cynical assurances that the country’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the families of victims. But there won’t be any new laws. Modest background checks — supported by nearly 90% of Americans, and virtually everyone in the law enforcement community — might make a difference, but there simply aren’t enough votes in the Senate to act.
DONALD TRUMP, TED CRUZ AND OTHER PRO-GUN politicians will be speaking on Friday at a National Rifle Association conference (the NRA is becoming more aggressive because of a threat to its dominance from the far right). The talking points on Friday will be familiar — Democrats are exploiting the issue of taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. Each side is talking past each other, as more gun violence looms this summer.
THIS ISSUE ISN’T JUST ABOUT MASS MURDERS — it’s greatly complicated by the surge of gun violence in major American cities. Most northern states and cities have tough anti-gun laws on the books, yet gun violence is out of control.
THE LEVEL OF ANGER ON CAPITOL HILL over these latest shootings is palpable, but that won’t be enough. New players will have to step forward, such as Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, whose father was shot to death in 1984 in Beirut. “When are we going to do something?” Kerr asked yesterday.
FAILURE TO PASS EVEN MODEST REFORMS could become the biggest political wild card of the year. Is there even one politician who can successfully take on this issue? Eric Adams, the ex-cop who is Mayor of New York, may sense an opening.
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