Mass shootings: What’s next for gun control in the US?


Mass shootings: What’s next for gun control in the US? Is there an answer? Just ten days after the killing of 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in New York, tragedy struck again. This time, 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos went up to Robb Elementary School, Uvalde. There he shot and killed 19 students and 2 teachers while leaving another 17 fatally injured. 

However, these two incidents only add to an already long list of mass shootings in the United States. Almost ten years ago, a young man killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

gun control
Credit: Photo by Joe on Unsplash

At the time, the Sandy Hook shooting led to calls for the reform of gun control laws. Then-President Barack Obama pleaded with Congress to take action on the advance of gun control legislation. 

Shockingly, the prospects of reforming gun regulations in the country don’t look like they will be changing anytime soon. Hours after the latest attack, President Joe Biden called for new restrictions on the possession of firearms.

And once again, questions are asked about what it would take to renew the federal ban on assault weapons. In fact, many are pointing fingers at national politicians for enabling these mass shootings. 

The two AR-15-style rifles that the gunman used in carrying out his attack were purchased legally. This has sparked conversations about the regulation and control of firearms, especially by defenders of the Second Amendment and advocates for gun control. Efforts to pass new regulations for the possession and use of guns are seemingly futile.

Despite the fact that Democrats control the two congressional chambers and the presidency, the opposition is just as formidable as ever. The filibuster is a process in the parliament that requires most legislation to get at least 60 votes from the 100 Senate seats.

One year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) called for a bipartisan solution. This was going to expand the background checks for the purchase of guns. But as it drew closer to being voted on the Senate floor, it was obvious that it wouldn’t get past the filibuster. 

At the time, Obama called the failure of Congress to take action “a pretty shameful day for Washington.” 

Last year, two bills were passed by the House to expand the background checks required to purchase firearms. The first bill sought to extend the background check review period. The other was going to close a gaping loophole that has enabled private and online sales. Again, Democrats needed 10 votes from the Republicans to clear the hurdle of the 60-vote filibuster. But those votes never came. 

With the latest incident, there have been cries for new reforms. But the Republicans continue to resist implementing measures for gun control. Despite the obvious barriers in their way, the Democrats have not stopped seeking new measures and offering to find common ground with the Republicans. The only offer that the Republicans have supported so far is the creation of a national database for safety practices in schools. But it is obvious that more has to be done, and the proposal with the most support so far is the “red flag” law. This law would prevent anyone with a history of crimes or mental illness from getting access to guns. It would also include an expanded background check on every gun purchase, even for private sales. 

Polls carried out show that a majority of Americans are in support of this legislation, but most of the Republican senators represent pro-gun states. So, unless the citizens of these states become open to reforms, the Republicans are more likely to stand their ground.

Bruno Tavares
Bruno Tavares
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