The United States is continuing to grapple with the impact of two mass shootings that occurred this past weekend in El Paso and Dayton, respectively, where more than 30 people were killed overall. Former President Bill Clinton has an idea, calling in a piece newly published in Time magazine to reinstate the assault weapons ban that he signed into law while president in 1994 and lasted until 2004, when as the majority in the federal government, Republicans allowed it to lapse. In similar fashion, following the atrocities that rocked Texas, Ohio, and the United States at large, current Republicans in government have come up with no apparent substantive plan whatsoever for stemming the tide of bloodshed. Their inaction is pretty much as standard as their “thoughts and prayers” at this point.
In response, in his Time piece, Clinton shared:
‘For too long, America has allowed a determined, well-financed group to pretend to grieve with us while spreading paranoia among those who responsibly use guns for hunting, sport shooting and self-protection. For too long, the gun lobby and their elected allies have stalled, deflected and changed the conversation until the pressure abates and they can get back to business, heedless of the killings inevitably yet to come.’
Trump has talked about doing “something” in the wake of the shootings, and in conversation with reporters on Wednesday he claimed to be making some kind of progress in getting to leaders on Capitol Hill to get something done — but he provided basically no specifics. Similarly, he promised Ohio leaders that we’ll “get things done,” but again, he had no specifics. He did tweet though! — including an array of angry posts targeted at his political opponents, some of which he literally posted for the world to see while in between visits with mass shooting victims.
‘We have talked, tweeted and delayed long enough. This is about who we are as a country, what America will look like years from now, and whether our children and grandchildren will be safer and freer to grow up.’
It’s true that as Clinton indicates, gun violence is an epidemic that has rocked the United States well outside of the confines of last weekend’s shootings. The Gun Violence Archive reports that so far in 2019, a full 8,936 people and counting have lost their lives to gun violence, not including suicide incidents. There have been a full 255 reported and verified mass shooting incidents, according to the same database. In the time since last weekend, some on the right have deflected criticism of gun policy by pointing to supposed sparks of violence like video games and, as Clinton noted, mental illness — but these factors do not predict violence. They’re present around the world, while America stands alone in casualty numbers at the cited level.
Yet, Republican lawmakers — many of whom get large sums of cash from the National Rifle Association (NRA) — refuse to act. Clinton suggests in his piece that the political tides have turned since the 1990s, pointing to the wave of Democratic victories in the 2018 midterm elections as evidence of the apparent political way forward for getting common sense gun reform accomplished like a demand for background checks before all sales.
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