Thursday, June 15, 2017

Expect less, not more, gun control after shooting

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.,
is still in critical condition.
Don't expect this week's shooting of House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and others at the GOP baseball team's final practice to lead to more gun control. "Even after the shooting of their close friend, there is no appetite at all in the House Republican Conference for tougher gun laws," writes James Hohmann of The Washington Post. "In fact, many are citing what happened yesterday as a reason to roll back the restrictions that are currently on the books. Republicans earnestly believe that guns can never be completely kept out of the hands of criminals. They are willing to accept some personal risks to their own safety, of a lunatic getting a firearm, because they genuinely see Second Amendment rights as inviolable. Furthermore, the phrase may be a cliché, but most conservatives sincerely believe that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"Congressional Democrats have taken notably sharper and more aggressive tactics in recent years when it comes to advocating for tougher gun laws," Politico reports, but Democratic lawmakers tiptoed around the gun issue on Wednesday. Notably, several Democrats asked to speak without attribution for fear of being seen as insensitive so soon after one of their colleagues was shot. . . . Democratic lawmakers said the day of the shooting was not the time "to revive the dormant gun control debate. It was too soon, it hit too close to home — and lawmakers simply didn’t want to stand accused of politicizing a shooting that injured a colleague and friend. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said, “We’re beyond the place where Washington responds to mass shootings. I mean, we don’t. We don’t. After Orlando and Sandy Hook, that’s clearly not how people’s minds work here.”

A leading gun-control advocate, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, said there is “feeling of resignation” in his party on the issue. “Until there’s significant changes around the country or within Congress, we know each other’s positions and we know they don’t change,” Durbin told Politico. “There’s a fatigue. We know each other’s arguments. We know what’s going to happen.”

Hohmann reports that Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who was at the scene of the shooting in Alexandria, Va., said Congress should consider letting lawmakers carry firearms. “If this had happened in Georgia, he wouldn’t have gotten too far,” Loudermilk told Mike DeBonis of the Post. “I had a staff member who was in his car maybe 20 yards behind the shooter, who was pinned in his car, who back in Georgia carries a 9-millimeter in his car. … He had a clear shot at him. But we’re not allowed to carry any weapons here.” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) told Buffalo's WKBW that he plans to start carrying his pistol more often. “If you look at the vulnerability, I assure you: I have a carry permit. I will be carrying when I’m out and about. On a rare occasion I’d have my gun in a glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward.”

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) noted he has introduced legislation to make it easier for most people to carry a gun in Washington. His bill “would allow the most law-abiding among us to defend themselves,” he told The New York Times. He noted that Capitol police were there only because Scalise was. “Had there not been a member of House leadership present, there would have been no police present, and it would have become the largest act of political terrorism in years, if not ever,” he said.

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