Senate Republicans Block Bill To Ban Assault Weapons As US Sets Record For Mass Shootings
Oh, yes, and there was a mass shooting at UNLV yesterday, too, but when isn't there.
Republicans in the US Senate Wednesday put the kibosh on a Democratic bill that would have reinstated the 1990s-era assault weapons ban. In a completely coincidental bit of timing, there was also a mass shooting on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which left three victims dead and one hospitalized in critical condition, later upgraded to stable. The shooter died at the scene after being confronted by police, but CNN reports it’s not yet clear whether he was shot by police or killed himself. The killer appears to have been a business professor who had applied for a job at UNLV but was turned down.
The Democratic motion, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, would have reauthorized the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban — authored by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein — that expired after 10 years, during the George W. Bush administration. Supporters of the ban note that the country had fewer mass shootings while it was in effect, although detractors say the data weren’t conclusive. After 2004, when the ban ended, mass shootings increased sharply, and if White Christian Nationalists were choosing a new symbol to replace the cross, they’d probably go with the outline of an AR-15 because it’s so manly and aggressive. They like people who didn’t let themselves be executed by Romans.
Introducing the measure, Schumer said, “The American people are sick and tired of enduring one mass shooting after another. […] They’re sick and tired of vigils and moments of silence for family, friends, classmates, coworkers.”
Schumer’s unanimous consent motion to debate the bill was blocked by Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyoming), who bravely defended the poor innocent weapons by invoking the Holy Second Amendment and objecting to any attempt at “trying to label responsible gun owners as criminals.”
He has a point. According to a 2022 National Institute of Justice study, right up until they pull the trigger in a classroom, office, or dining room, 77 percent of America’s mass shooters purchased at least some of their guns legally, at least in cases where gun origins were known (32.5 percent of cases couldn’t be confirmed).
The latest Republican move to protect assault weapons came days after the USA set a new record for the most mass killings by guns: Over the weekend, shootings in Texas (five killed) and Washington state (an apparent murder-suicide with five total deaths) bring us to 632 mass shootings as of today, by the Gun Violence Archive’s definition of a mass shooting as any shooting in which four or more people are shot, regardless of deaths. Shooting deaths from all causes, the Gun Violence Archive reports, are at 40,164 in 2023 so far. Slightly over half of those are suicides. (Reminder: The National Suicide and Crisis Hotline number is 988.)
In conclusion, America is a wonderful free country where the only things we need to worry about are real or fictional LGBTQ+ people in school books, and of course the constant threats to our home appliances, the end.
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