Among the many items on the list of legislative priorities that the Democrats have failed to deliver for their base since taking full control of the federal government is their promise to pass new “gun safety” (read as “gun grabbing” or “making gun ownership prohibitively expensive or difficult”) laws. A recent series of mass shootings around the country has spurred some of the usual suspects to once again go to the media and complain about the lack of legislative action. The fact that Joe Biden recently imposed new restrictions on homemade weapons does not appear to have impressed them, nor do most of them appear to understand that infighting among the Democrats themselves has stalled other measures. (Associated Press)
The struggle for the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress to enact any meaningful legislation to enhance gun safety reflects how the party’s ambitious agenda has been frustratingly stunted by internal squabbling, the persistence of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The almost complete Republican opposition to Democratic priorities, including gun rules, has hobbled a party with razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate.
But that’s little solace to gun safety advocates and tens of thousands of shooting victims who were told Democrats would reduce gun violence if given the chance to govern. In an already difficult election year, the inaction threatens to further undermine the coalition of young people, women, voters of color and independents who helped deliver Joe Biden the presidency in 2020 and will be needed again if Democrats are to hold control of Congress.
The AP heard from many of the usual voices on the anti-Second Amendment side of the debate. They spoke with David Hogg, of course, since keeping him away from a microphone usually requires an electric fence and some armed guards. Hogg said that he is “just angry” and he’s not blaming the GOP this time, or at least not entirely. “We took the House and then we took the Senate and now we have the White House, too, and still, nothing is changing,” he said.
They also spoke with Democratic Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath, who managed to be elected on an anti-gun platform in the Peach State in 2020. She claims that the fact that she was elected is proof that Democrats are “making real progress.” What she didn’t mention was the fact that her district was just redrawn and she’s currently in a very tight race with a GOP congresswoman, so her time to “make progress” may wind up being rather short.
Are there too many shootings taking place? There obviously are. But what all of these activists are once again either unaware of or willfully choosing to ignore is that hardly any of those shootings are perpetrated by lawful gun owners using their own legally-possessed firearms. The primary exceptions to that rule are mostly domestic violence cases, where there is clearly more work to be done. But for the rest, there is plenty that could be done to reduce the number of shootings, but the Democrats are continually uninterested in talking about such measures.
If you want fewer shootings, get the illegal guns off the streets. At the same time, you need to catch the shooters and lock them up for a very long time as a message to the other criminals. But doing all of that requires more, well-funded police and prosecutors who are willing to bring serious charges. It also requires legislators who aren’t reflexively trying to “decriminalize” everything under the sun in the name of “social justice.” But if you could somehow manage those three steps, you would see the number of shoots drop dramatically. We’ve done it before, particularly in the early to mid-90s. And we could do it again if the will existed.