Fight for Gun Control in Wake of Orlando Shooting
In the wake of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, Democrats are fighting for immediate change. Led by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, Democrats have launched a talking filibuster on the Senate floor. Their hope is to pressure Republicans into accepting legislation that would prevent those on terrorist watch lists from procuring firearms and to require universal background checks. Murphy has a personal connection to gun control efforts in that the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre took place in his home state. As he said, “I can’t tell you how hard it is to look into the eyes of the families of those little boys and girls who were killed in Sandy Hook and tell them that almost four years later, we’ve done nothing, nothing at all to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family.”
Up for review is a spending bill Democrats hope to add gun control amendments to. Murphy urged Republicans to speak up, saying, “I’m going to remain on this floor until we can get some signal, some sign that we can come together… that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way.” Meanwhile, Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Dianne Feinstein of California are considering what that bipartisan path would look like. Cornyn believes that those on the watch list should be allowed due process, whereas Feinstein believes the attorney general should be able to ban gun sales to those on watch lists if there is “reasonable belief” the weapons may be used for an attack.”
Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans have remained split on how to address gun control, even in the midst of such tragedy. The chance of passing any legislation seems slim, especially considering the Senate already voted down similar legislation in December.
Hillary Clinton tweeted support for Murphy and gun control advocates. She wrote, “Some fights are too important to stay silent. Preventing gun violence is one of them. Stand strong @ChrisMurphyCT.”
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is meeting with the NRA soon. He tweeted today, “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.” Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA, issued a statement saying:
We are happy to meet with Donald Trump. The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed. The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watch list who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing… the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist. At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed.
If Trump plans to loosen the NRA’s grasp on the Second Amendment, especially after being endorsed by them, he’s in for a real disappointment.
Trump has responded to the Orlando shooting in depth, underlining past policy proposals like his ban on Muslims entering the United States. It should be noted that the terrorist was a U.S. citizen. Trump said, “Can you imagine what they [Muslims]’ll do in large groups, which we’re allowing now to come here?” He warned that terrorists immigrating into the United States would decimate us: “There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left.” He also said “it is only going to get worse,” playing upon the fears of Americans in the wake of such a horrific event.