Bill of Rights

Since early May, America has suffered a rash of mass shootings including one in Buffalo, NY; one in Oklahoma; and the horrific slaughter of children in Uvalde, TX. Lawmakers immediately jumped into crisis mode, claiming that gun control laws must be passed.

The House of Representatives had voted last year on a couple of bills that would supposedly close some loopholes where background checks are concerned. One bill changes the waiting period from three days to twenty and changes regulations on background checks. Another bill would address unlicensed gun dealers at gun shows and online.

Both of those bills stalled in the Senate.

Proponents of gun control have been on the campaign stump lobbying for more regulations regarding gun sales. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, want to reinstate a ban on what they deem as assault weapons. There have also been calls for limiting the amount of ammunition one may purchase as well as limiting high-capacity magazines.

However, many in politics favor approaching the “root cause” of these shootings. Most of the shooters have been found to have posted online about their plans (or at least admiration for people who have carried out previous mass shootings). While the Buffalo shooter and the Uvalde shooter both had posted questionable things online, they had no criminal record. Many Republicans have presented the idea of creating red flag laws so that those who have exhibited possible mental issues and may pose a harm to themselves or others will not be eligible to purchase a gun legally.

In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, many Republicans have proposed making schools “hard,” meaning upping the number of school resource officers (who will likely be armed) as well as mandating that all schools have one point of entry during the school day.

However, a few Republicans, notably Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, have come out in favor of an assault weapons ban.

Ironically, a Quinnipiac poll published on Tuesday shows that while 57 percent of voters are in favor of tightening gun rules, only fifty percent of registered voters suppport revamping the nationwide ban on semi-automatic long guns.

For comparison, in 2018, shortly after the Parkland shooting, a similar poll showed that 67 percent of registered voters supported the same type of ban.

Support for banning semi-automatic long guns has never been at such a low level.

At the same time, about 74 percent of those surveyed said that they supported raising the age for an individual to purchase any type of gun from eighteen to twenty-one.

Most of the support for gun laws falls on party lines. Ninety-one percent of Democrats support stricter gun laws, while only 32 percent of Republicans support the issue.

However, the Quinnipiac poll shows that 92 percent of Americans, regardless of party, continue to support background checks.

President Joe Biden has been at the podium a number of times since the Uvalde shooting on May 24. This week, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk about the economy, gun control, and more.

The president came under fire last week when he said that one of the most common self-defense firearms, a 9mm pistol, is able to “blow the lung out of the body.” A 9mm is lethal, but, other calibers offer much more power than the 9mm, including the .45 and the .357.

Ironically, most Americans don’t believe Congress will get gun control legislation passed, although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to move something through his chamber of Congress. Fifty-four percent of Americans believe that any gun control bills will stall in the Senate.

Biden has also made some erroneous statements regarding gun manufacturers, comparing them to the big tobacco companies. Biden says Congress should take away the immunity the gun manufacturing industry “enjoys,” which would mean the manufacturers could be sued if a gun they made was used to commit a crime.

Biden has also said that the Second Amendment – as well as other amendments – are not to be considered “absolute.”