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  • Writer's pictureMichael McAuliff

Dems Say Act Or Get Out Of The Way On Guns

Democrats are trying again to put pressure on Republicans to tighten America's gun laws after the horrific shooting at a Nashville Christian school, saying that GOP lawmakers should be more concerned about banning assault weapons than books.

Democrats in the House rallied outside the Capitol to call on the majority party to bring up an assault weapons ban and a background check bill.

"There is no excuse to allow our streets to be flooded with weapons of war that are not being used to hunt deer -- they're being used to hunt human beings, and to slaughter children," said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. "So we're demanding that Congress act, because the level of gun violence in this country is unacceptable. It's unconscionable, and it's unAmerican."

Other Democrats pointed to Republicans' latest efforts to protect kids in school by making it easier for parents to object to curriculums and ban specific books in schools, as well as efforts to deny medical care to transgender youth.

"I've heard a lot of talk over these past few weeks from my Republican colleagues about what they think is best for our students, our parents and our teachers," said Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.). "They say we need to ban certain books from classrooms, and that will somehow keep our children safe. They say we need to pick and choose which students can get the mental health care they need, and that will somehow keep our children safe. As a mother of four sons and a great grandmother of one, I have some questions for my Republican colleagues who are so concerned about our children's safety. How many more children have to be murdered in their classrooms before you even contemplate banning assault weapons instead of books?"

"The Republicans are willing to sit back and let it continue to happen, and until they're willing to stop kids from getting murdered in their classrooms, I don't want to hear another damn word from them about keeping our schools or our communities safe. Not one more word," Craig said.

Democrats also highlighted the lack of any answer from Republicans, pointing to the now-viral comments from Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.). who told reporters earlier in the week, "We’re not going to fix it," when asked about the school shooting in his state that left three children and three adults dead.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) quoted Burchett, and asked him to look at a heart-rending photo of a girl crying on a school bus as it leaves the scene of the killings.

"That member of Congress, that Republican member of Congress and his entire conference are telling that family and that little girl, 'We're not going to fix this.' Well guess what? We have to fix it. It is our job to fix it. It is our obligation to fix it."

The picture also struck Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who raised it in an interview with SiriusXM's Joe Madison Wednesday, and promised to push for better background checks and a renewed assault weapons ban.

“My children are grown, but I have a four-year-old grandson, and already I am worried about him. I am worried about him. And I have a 10-month-old and a 1-month-old," Schumer said. "What we have to do is not just think about this, we have to act."

"We need a universal background check. And I'd love to get the assault weapons ban passed," Schumer said. "So we're going to redouble our efforts. We're just going to have to keep working."

Yet it is unlikely that the GOP-run House will do that. It is also not certain that Schumer will be able to advance anything in the Democratic-led Senate. Last year, the Senate managed to move a $13 billion bill to tighten background checks for younger people, help states enact and enforce red-flag laws, and keep firearms out of the hands of domestic violence offenders. But that effort took months of backroom negotiations, spurred by pressure to react to horrendous shootings in Buffalo and in Uvalde, Texas, and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who led that effort, was unable to find 10 Republicans willing to back a more robust background check system, let alone consider banning assault weapons.

It takes 60 senators to advance most legislation, and the Democrats control just 51 seats.


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