The country is grieving again, following another mass shooting. This time, a gunman left 49 dead at a nightclub in Orlando. Many more are still in the hospital. In the wake of what has been deemed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the GOP is sending prayers like they always do. Democrats, on the other hand, are working towards solutions by reintroducing a bill that would prevent anyone on the terrorist watch list (including Orlando’s mass murderer) from legally buying a gun.
Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are taking action.
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 13, 2016
Rep. Ted Deutch, (D-Fla.), is calling for a vote on barring suspected terrorists being permitted to legally purchase guns. In a statement issued Sunday morning, Deutch wrote:
TOMORROW, when we return to Washington, we should have a moment of silence for the victims — immediately followed by a vote to close the loophole that allows people on the terror watch list to buy assault rifles — or any weapon,” Deutch said. “This isn’t politics; it’s common sense.”
President Obama and Democratic legislators have repeatedly pressed for those on the no-fly list or terror watch lists to be barred from buying firearms. Republicans have been staunchly opposed to any such restrictions because they consider the Second Amendment right to own a gun more important than the lives of innocent Americans.
“The majority of the people on the no-fly list are oftentimes people that just basically have the same name as somebody else, who doesn’t belong on the no-fly list,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio argued in December. “Former Sen. Ted Kennedy once said he was on a no-fly list. There are journalists on the no-fly list.” He then claimed 700,000 people would lose gun rights if this bill were enacted. A claim Politifact ruled a flagrant lie.
Democrats may have a better chance of finally getting the legislation passed following the tragedy in Orlando. The gunman, Omar Mateen, had been interrogated on three separate occasions as a result of terroristic threats made and involvement with another known terrorist. Even though he was a suspected terrorist, classified by the FBI as a “known quantity,” Mateen was able to legally buy the assault-style rifle and handgun used in shooting just days before the attack.
Deutch and his fellow Democrats may be able to push a vote on such a proposal as House Republicans take up the spending bills. The Florida Democrat also suggested further reaching restrictions on weapons may also be called for.
In the weeks to come, we should not be afraid to ask why, when an AR-15 assault rifle is the one thing that’s common to Orlando, San Bernardino and Newtown, we allow these deadly weapons to be freely available?” Deutch said in his statement. “And why every gun purchaser isn’t subject to a background check? And why the mental health crisis isn’t urgently addressed?
Democrats have also begun to call for a ban on military-style assault weapons, such as the AR 15 which was used in Orlando as well as both Aurora and Sandy Hook.
One thing is very clear, the United States has a gun problem that is out of control. Time and time again innocent lives have been taken and we have failed to enact any meaningful legislation that could prevent such tragic deaths in the future. Maybe, just maybe, this time, it will be different. I would like to think that at some point Republicans would stand up to the NRA and try to institute laws to keep American citizens safe. But I’ not holding my breath.
Featured image via video screen capture