Wednesday, March 24, 2021

It will be a great and historic tragedy if this Dem majority fails again on gun control

A solemn group of King Soopers workers, left, some from the Boulder store and some from the same district, brought large displays of flowers for each of the victims of the mass shooting.  (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP)

It's become a familiar pattern. Dems promise mild federal gun control legislation but get no bi-partisan support so they drop the issue. Then comes another mass shooting and there's a new whirlwind of gun-control chatter that dies down again after a week or so. 

Pres. Biden did not fulfill a campaign promise to send a bill to Congress on his first day in office repealing liability protections for gun manufacturers and closing background-check loopholes.

But after two mass shootings, which took the lives of 18 people, in less than a week, he's once again promising "common sense" gun legislation, including the banning of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. He's also promising to take executive action if Republicans block passage in the Senate. 

But we've heard those promises before, like after the Sandy Hook killings in 2012 when Obama tasked Biden with coming up with a legislative package of gun control measures. But the effort resulted in no significant legislative action, and Obama was forced to enact a handful of relatively modest reform through executive actions.

After a February 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., students launched a wave of activism that propelled gun-control issues to the front of the Democratic agenda, including Biden’s. But since taking office, the president has been swamped by other crises, from the pandemic to the economy to immigration.

Dems fear losing Republican support on potential bipartisan issues. Trump's MAGAs threaten to block enforcement once a bill is passed. Same as it ever was. 

This was the case even in the wake of gun-toting militias storming government buildings and threatening the lives of governors and legislators. Not to mention the horrible rise in the number of shootings in cities like Chicago. 

Federal gun control, including the outlawing of military assault weapons, was dropped to near the bottom of the Democrats' legislative agenda ever since Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told Attorney General Eric Holder to "shut the fuck up" about the issue a decade ago.

And without strong, enforceable federal laws, state and local legislation becomes almost meaningless since illegal guns are easily transported across state and municipal borders. 

Then there are the courts, now loaded up with Trump-appointed judges. Three years ago, the city of Boulder banned assault weapons. A court blocked the measure just 10 days before Monday’s rampage.

It would be one of the great historical tragedies if no significant gun legislation is possible even with a Democrat in the White House and a Dem majority in both houses.

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