For some people, the time after a major shooting is a time to lament “the world we live in,” while ignoring our role in creating and maintaining that world. For others, enough is enough — every time. To those people, the time after a major shooting is a time to get to work and try to save some lives in the future.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has had a particular interest in gun control legislation since the senseless slaughter at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut. He did not hold back after the Las Vegas shooting, putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Congress. According to Sen. Murphy, inaction costs lives. Unlike his colleagues in Congress, who he has accused of “sitting on their asses,” Sen. Murphy wants to do something about it.
According to POLITICO, Sen. Murphy intends to bring a background check bill — which prior polls have shown the vast majority of Americans support — to the Senate floor. It remains to be seen whether he’ll have any chance of having his words heard over those of the lobbyists for the gun industry.
‘The senator openly acknowledged that stricter background checks might not have flagged the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, who cleared all requirements when he purchased a shotgun at a Utah shop, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
But “we can’t get caught in the trap of only advocating legislation that addressed yesterday’s shooting,” Murphy told reporters at the Capitol on Monday. “The fact is, 80 other people died from guns yesterday and stronger background checks laws should’ve saved many of them.”
Murphy, along with other Democrats, including Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Dick Durbin of Illinois, spoke on the Senate floor to chastise Congress for its inaction on gun policy.
“This is going to keep happening over and over again,” Murphy said on the floor. “And I know the answer can’t be that we are powerless as a body to do something about it. I just personally can’t bring that answer back to the families of Sandy Hook for another year.”’
It’s sad that things like “Hey, maybe everyone should have a background check before you hand them a gun” have become partisan issues thanks largely to the influence of the NRA. Just yesterday, Republican idol Bill O’Reilly called the shooting “the price of freedom” and said that even people who plan to carry out mass shootings have a right to own weapons. That’s the world we live in — the world we have created for ourselves.
Background checks. Limits to magazine sizes, forcing would-be mass shooters to reload much more often, wasting precious seconds while victims make their escape. Strong liability laws, so that if your unsecured weapon is stolen or lost, you are responsible for whatever it does when it washes up. There are many simple, common sense steps we can take to reduce gun violence without infringing the rights of gun owners. Unfortunately, even with people working on it, nothing is likely to be done. If Sandy Hook didn’t change anything, why would Las Vegas?
Featured image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images