Bloody Weekend In The US Raises The Stakes On Weapons In The Senate

There were 10 mass shootings in a weekend in the US 0:46

(WABNEWS) – In South Carolina and Texas, victims were shot at their high school graduation party. In Kentucky, funeral attendees were attacked outside a church. Multiple assailants riddled a crowd in Philadelphia with bullets. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the shooting occurred in a disco.

That was just normal US business last weekend under the deadly shadow of gun violenceas the staggering 10 mass shootings since Friday deepen the trauma of recent massacres at a Buffalo supermarket, a Texas elementary school and a Tulsa, Oklahoma hospital.


The horrific new wave of deaths and injuries, of broken families, of mourning and fear, raises the stakes of the latest effort in the Senate to finally do something to stop the mass shootings and massacres. Also, the costs of another political failure.

The initiative, led by Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, comes to a head this week. It will not be enough to end the violence in a country awash with guns. But even if it only prevents one more massacre with incremental measures and some lives are saved, it could mark a major political victory. In addition to showing that Washington can actually do something to mitigate a deadly threat.

There were 10 mass shootings in a weekend in the US 0:46

Murphy told WABNEWS’s “State of the Union” this Sunday that, despite huge obstacles, he had never been more confident of achieving anything after fighting for years to toughen gun control laws. A path that began after the massacre in an elementary school in his state in 2012, and after which the legislative reforms failed in Congress.

“I have never been part of negotiations as serious as these. There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun control laws and investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook,” Murphy told Jake Tapper of WABNEWS. “I’ve also been part of a lot of failed deals in the past. So I’m rational about our chances.”

Murphy added that the issues most likely to move forward include red flag laws, which can be used to confiscate weapons from people deemed dangerous. Also a tightening of background check requirements, plus additional resources for mental health.

A fierce political debate on weapons

There is no realistic chance that President Joe Biden’s call, during a moving speech last Thursday, to ban the assault weapons that have been used in many of the recent massacres will succeed.

Watch a legislator flash his weapons in session 1:43

Now, even if Cornyn and Murphy manage to get a deal done, there is still a moment when Republican senators will demonstrate their priorities. It takes at least 10 of them to vote with the Democrats to overcome obstructionism and achieve a large majority of votes. But backing any gun restrictions risks being branded as traitors by more active Republican voters, who will decide the primaries and oppose any form of tighter control.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders like former President Donald Trump point out that any tweaks to gun control laws represent the start of an inevitable slippery slope to ending the Second Amendment. An exaggeration and mischaracterization that has often frustrated previous proposals.

Still, there are signs that the push for tighter gun restrictions is growing in the country: Polls show majority support for gun checks. stricter background and for assault weapons bans. In one case, a group of 250 self-identified conservative gun owners posted an ad in the Dallas Morning News asking Cornyn to work to improve gun control.

“We vote for Republican senators. We believe in the Second Amendment. Like many, we struggle to find good answers to our current problem of gun violence in America,” the group wrote in an open letter.

But the structural obstacles to reform remain solid. Although many Americans view their right to bear arms as a fundamental element of self-defense and national identity, polls show that even a good portion of Republicans believe some sensible additional regulation is needed. Yet an activist minority in the Republican Party and the power of the pro-gun lobby have stymied almost all efforts for change that have emerged in response to mass shootings in recent years.

Five alarming statistics about shootings in the US 2:15

So the question before the Senate this week won’t just be whether the nation’s political estrangement will allow it to pass some measure to make the country a little safer. It is about whether a genuine debate is even possible in a bitterly divided Washington about the real causes that led to the deaths of so many innocent people.

“Enough, enough,” Biden said last Thursday shortly after his second trip in just weeks to comfort those dealing with the pain of a mass shooting in the United States. His words resonated Sunday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the city’s mayor spent his second weekend in a row giving a news conference after a massacre.

“Once again, we have people who decided to solve their problems with guns,” said Mayor Tim Kelly, who is not officially affiliated with either party. Kelly says he’s a hunter and favors responsible gun ownership, but he supports expanding background checks and limits on high-capacity magazines.

He continued: “I am tired of standing in front of you to talk about weapons and deaths.”

A deadly wave of weekend shootings

By Sunday afternoon, the figures revealing a weekend of violence reached shocking levels. Even taking into account the usual daily number of murders and firearms incidents.

Since Friday alone, there have been 10 mass shootings in the country that have killed at least 12 people and injured many more. That’s not to mention all the other minor shootings that also occurred, as part of the drumbeat of death. At times over the weekend, news of more shootings came in at a rate that was hard to believe.

Of course, most Americans went about their business without coming into contact with violence. But the indiscriminate nature of recent shootings at schools, doctors’ offices, supermarkets, bars and parties shows how deeply embedded the threat of gun violence is in everyday life. None of those killed in those massacres had any reason to think that their lives were about to end in relatively normal places.

Could you sue a manufacturer of weapons that have been used in a shooting? 3:23 Three people were killed and 11 injured in Philadelphia on Saturday night. Police said several assailants fired into a crowd in the busy nightlife area of ​​South Street. “Once again, we have lives senselessly lost and people injured in another horrendous, brazen and despicable act of gun violence,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. In the Tennessee incident, two people died of gunshot wounds and 14 were injured in a shooting in Chattanooga. A third person died after being hit by a vehicle during the incident, police said. Across the country, in Mesa, Arizona, two people were killed and two wounded in a shooting at a bar. In Phoenix, Arizona, a 14-year-old girl was killed and at least 8 people were injured in a downtown shooting early Saturday morning. Also, in another mass shooting, in Summerton, South Carolina, eight people were injured and one died. Police told WABNEWS affiliate WIS that two cars stopped in a courtyard where a high school graduation party was taking place. The victims were between 13 and 36 years old. Five people were injured at another prom in Socorro, Texas, when someone began shooting into a crowd. Three people were injured and one was killed in an incident in Omaha, Nebraska. In Chesterfield, Virginia: One person was killed and five others were injured And in Macon, Georgia, three people were injured and one person died when shots were fired in a Bibb County neighborhood. In several different incidents that would not be classified as mass shootings over the past few days, two people attending a funeral were shot outside a church in Lexington, Kentucky, police said. Both were injured. And on Friday, a former Wisconsin judge was shot and killed in what police called a targeted attack. A big political disconnect

Murphy told WABNEWS in his interview that the recent flare-up of violence across the country has brought anxiety about gun violence to levels he hasn’t seen before.

“When I was in Connecticut last week, I had never seen the look on parents’ faces that I saw. There is a very deep fear for our children right now,” she told Tapper. Murphy further noted that “there is also a fear that the government is so fundamentally broken that it can’t put aside politics to ensure what adults in this country care about most: the physical safety of their children.”

“And I think the chance of success is better than ever,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “But I think the consequences of failure for our entire democracy are more important than ever.”

However, the political position of many Republicans — as the party seeks big wins in November’s midterm elections — also weighs against the chances of success.

Representative Steve Scalise, House Republican Minority Leader, is a victim of gun violencea, after he was seriously injured during a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in 2017. However, the Louisiana lawmaker accused Democrats of using the recent massacre in Texas as an excuse to violate gun rights. . He also hinted that such mass shootings almost always had a cause that could not simply be blamed on guns.

“Immediately it’s about the Democrats wanting to get rid of guns,” Scalise said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Let’s go to the root of the problem. How can we better connect the signals and stop something before it happens? Like we did after 9/11, which has worked very well when it comes to stopping terrorist attacks,” Scalise said.

When asked why the US has so many more gun murders than other developed nations, where guns are far less readily available, he blamed what he said were “crazy” calls by liberal Democrats to defund the policeman.

The difference between Murphy and Scalise on this issue underscores why hopes for progress this week in Washington are tempered by the experience of the deepening chasm that exists in the US on gun reform. And it raises questions about whether Washington will ever be able to keep Americans safe.



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