After a string of horrific shootings across the country in recent weeks, a bipartisan group of senators say they’ve never been more “serious” about stopping the US gun violence epidemic.
“I’ve never taken part in negotiations as seriously as this one,” Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy said on Sunday. “There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws and investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook.”
Action can’t come soon enough after at least 10 people have been killed and 49 injured in seven different mass shootings in the past 48 hours. And the call for change across the country is mounting.
Sunday in the early hours, three were killed and 14 injured outside a bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of the victims was hit by a car that fled. The shooting came just over a week after another gun incident in the city injured six teenagers.
Across the country in Mesa, Arizona, another one two people were killed and two injured shooting in a parking lot near a nightclub on a Sunday morning.
Saturday night was even deadlier.
In Summerton, South Carolina, one person was killed and seven people, many of them teenagers, injured in a suspected drive-by shooting at a graduation party.
“Senseless acts will not be tolerated. There’s absolutely no reason for this sort of thing to happen,” Sheriff Tim Baxley said after the shooting. “This was a graduation party at school and you have all these innocent kids who were there and got hit by gunfire.”
That same night, in Philadelphia, police believe multiple gunmen killed three people and injured 11 when shots were fired in the South Street neighborhood, a popular area filled with bars and restaurants.
“We cannot accept the ongoing violence in our country as a way of life,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said† “Until we address the availability and easy access to firearms, we will always have an uphill battle.”
In Macon, Georgia, a 19-year-old was shot and killed, and three more were hospitalized in an incident in an abandoned house.
And in an eerie echo of past shootings, another graduation party, this one in Socorro, Texas, was shot on Saturday, injuring others. five teenagers and traumatizing the nearly 100 children in the home where it happened.
“Another shooting. How much, how much does it cost?” a city dweller told KFOX†
As serious and tragic as these incidents are, they are hardly exceptional in America.
there is more than one mass shooting on average per day in the US, and data suggests they have risen over the past three years.
Yet people like Senator Murphy are hoping that the seemingly non-stop gun tragedies of recent months have refocused Washington on pushing through gun reforms, years after many pledged to do so after the Sandy Hook massacre and Columbine murders.
“We’re not going to table legislation that bans assault weapons, or we’re not going to pass extensive background checks,” Murphy told CNN’s State of the Union† “But right now people in this country want us to make progress. They just don’t want the status quo to continue for another 30 years.”
The Connecticut senator instead said investments in school security and comprehensive mental health care could still be on the table. He is part of a bipartisan group that includes Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), Bill Cassidy (R-La), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) work on a weapons package.
But with a 50-50 deadlock in the Senate, it’s hard to imagine anything more drastic.
Texas Senator John Cornyn, appointed by minority leader Mitch McConnell to help conduct gun talks down the aisle, this week told a conservative Texas radio host that major restrictions on the Second Amendment “will not happen.”
He has long tempered expectations of a major weapons package after the Uvalde massacre.
“I’m not interested in making a political statement,” he said. “I’m actually interested in what we can do toe the terrible events that have occurred in Uvalde are less likely in the future.”
Things have proved just as controversial in the House, where Democrats passed a six-bill series of gun reforms by the main Judiciary Committee, implementing one of the most substantial changes to gun laws in decades.
The so-called Protecting Our Children Act would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic rifle, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and ghost weapon kits, require secure weapons storage, and increase penalties for illegal gun sales.
The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, and even in the House of Commons, many in the GOP are expressing their opposition.
Florida Republican Greg Steube held up four different guns when he videotaped a House gun hearing this week.
“Here’s a gun I carry with me every day to protect myself, my family, my wife and my home,” the congressman said, sparking shock and outrage among his Democratic colleagues.
Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has also accused Democrats of crafting a “hasty” gun control agenda “in what looks more like political theater than a genuine effort to improve public safety.”
The stalemate continues even as Joe Biden has stepped up calls for a major change in public safety in the US.
Speaking from the White House on Thursday, against a backdrop of flickering memorial candles, he pointed to data showing that guns are the number one killer of children in the US.
According to the CDC, more school-age children have been killed by guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military personnel combined.
“Think about it. More children than officers on duty killed by guns. More children than soldiers killed by guns. For God’s sake. How much more carnage are we willing to accept?” he said† “How many innocent American lives have to be taken before we say enough? Enough.”
Some Democratic states have heeded this callthough Texas leaders have renounced new gun control.
On Thursday, New York passed a package of gun laws to bolster the state’s red flag process, add an additional gun-owning license and raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic assault rifle.
California, meanwhile, is accelerating proposals to ban gun shows on private property, demand shooting threat reporting and education about safe gun storage in schools, and substitute private citizens to prosecute gun sellers and illegal gun distributors involved in crimes.
New Jersey and Delaware are also considering more extensive gun registration and safe storage requirements.
Those affected by the shootings in May and June are calling on leaders not to be complacent this time.
“We can’t sit here today crying for Geraldine and making sure that justice is done for Geraldine,” civil rights leader Al Sharpton said at the memorial service for Geraldine Talley, a 62-year-old who was killed in the white supremacist shooting in Buffalo. .
Erika Santiago from Uvalde said while attending the funeral of victim Amerie Jo Garza that her son does not want to go to school now.
“He told me he didn’t want to go to school because he was afraid that might happen,” Santiago says. told The Associated Press† “He said to me, ‘Mom, I just don’t feel safe.'”
It is a call for change that shows little sign of abating.
on June 8, Miah CerilloAn 11-year-old who survived the Uvalde shooting by smearing a deceased classmate’s blood over her body and playing dead will testify before Congress.
Her parents have a GoFundMe to pay for therapy for their daughter, who they say is losing hair in bushes, not sleeping and being triggered by loud noises like car alarms.
Across the country, the healing process begins after these shootings, but whether the fractured American institutions that allowed such violence can heal remains to be seen.