WASHINGTON — Less than two weeks after Congress passed groundbreaking legislation to curb gun violence, Democratic lawmakers reacted with horror and anger after a gunman opened fire during a Fourth of July parade in suburban Chicago, killing six and dozens of people. others were injured.
Many Democrats demanded Congress take more aggressive gun control measures, but did not call for specific policy changes. A few said they wanted to see a ban on semi-automatic weapons or raise the age to buy them.
Still, Republicans are unlikely to be willing to return to the negotiating table so soon after enacting the first meaningful gun reforms in three decades — especially during an election year when the GOP needs its conservative base to get to the polls.
“I think yesterday’s shooting is another example of what the problem is,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday after a speech in Paducah, Ky. “The problem is mental health and these young men who seemed to be inspired to commit these atrocities.”
Democrats agreed to include millions of mental health resources in their latest bipartisan package, but insist the problem is weapons.
Mass shootings won’t stop “until more members of Congress expand their definition of freedom to include freedom from massacre by semi-automatic weapons,” Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., told NBC News Tuesday.
sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., agreed that Congress must take further action to end mass shootings.
“As families gather to celebrate America, they are shot in the scourge of gun violence that plagues it. This is a tragedy,” Markey said in a… tweet† “The bipartisan gun law was a first step, but Congress needs to do more to stop this deadly epidemic and save lives.”
“Schools. shopping centres. Offices. churches. mosques. synagogues. night clubs. concerts. Grocery stores. Cinemas. Fourth of July Parades,” tweeted Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. “The gun lobby and its Republican puppets have robbed Americans of our sense of security in just about every place imaginable.”
Illinois lawmakers are trying to address the rampant gun violence that has plagued the city of Chicago for decades. But they said they were shocked by the nature of this particular mass shooting: Authorities believe the suspected gunman was sitting atop a building when he opened fire on parade-goers and participants gathered for Highland Park’s annual festivities on July 4. . The sniper fired more than 70 rounds, police said. One person of interest, 21-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, was taken into custody in nearby Lake Forest, Illinois, according to officials. The weapon used in the shooting is believed to be a “powerful rifle”, similar to an AR-15, which was legally purchased
Police said they are reviewing videos Crimo has posted on his social media accounts, including some with images of mass murder.
Representative Brad Schneider, D-Ill., who represents Highland Park, said he and his campaign team were getting ready to march in the parade as the shooting began. He said none of his team was injured.
“My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our cities, and our country safer. Enough is enough!”
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called the shooting “horrific,” while Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., described it as “absolutely terrifying” for the families who witnessed it.
“Last month Congress proved that two-pronged compromises on gun security are possible. Today has proved that we can’t stop there,” Duckworth said in a statement Monday. of Illinois can no longer scream. I will not forget their memories.”
Last month, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass sweeping gun laws in response to mass shootings at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law, provides federal grants to incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws; improves background checks to include juvenile records for gun buyers under the age of 21; provides increased funding for mental health and school security programs; and shut the “friend in law” by keeping guns out of the hands of unmarried dating partners convicted of abuse
Focusing on the Highland Park shooting, McConnell said the new law “focused on the problem. In that particular case, it was school safety and mental health.”
“We have to find a way to identify these young men in trouble and it’s very complicated,” McConnell said. “Because after every one of these shootings there are people who say, ‘oh you know, I thought he was kind of weird. I wish I had informed someone about it.’”
Because it is early in the Highland Park investigation, it is unclear whether the shooting could have been prevented by certain provisions of the Bipartisan Gun Law. The four lawmakers who negotiated the deal – Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, RN.C. — have been relatively quiet in the wake of the Highland Park shooting.
Murphy characterized his bill as the first step in broader gun reforms, but did not detail any details video posted on Twitter Monday.
“I am convinced that the bill we passed a week and a half ago is going to save lives; it will make a difference. But it’s just the beginning,” Murphy said.
“We have now broken through the back of the gun lobby. … Today is a reminder that we still have a long way to go.”
Some Democratic candidates called on congressional lawmakers to do more to stop mass shootings. Senate hopeful John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, the current lieutenant governor, said Washington should “take action against the NRA by shutting down and prosecuting arms dealers whose weapons routinely end up at crime scenes.”
He also demanded that Senate Democrats remove the filibuster and immediately pass universal background checks on all gun sales and a ban on military assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“We cannot and should not be numbed by this ever-increasing gun violence,” Fetterman said.