Gun control returned as a leading issue over Thanksgiving holiday weekend as Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats again called for a ban on assault weapons for the general public.
At the same time, questions have been raised about funding for law enforcement agencies in locations that refuse to enforce so-called red flag laws after tragedies were filmed in Virginia and Colorado over the past two weeks.
“If you passed an assault weapons ban, you would see fewer mass shootings in this country,” Chris Murphy, Connecticut’s Democratic U.S. Senator and a leading gun control advocate, said Sunday.
He added, “They won’t magically eliminate mass shootings, but an AR-15 or AR-15 style gun is generally the choice of mass shooters.”
One such military-style rifle was used in the shootings at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado last weekend, although different firearms were used in the shootings of University of Virginia football team players earlier this month and at a Walmart store, also in Virginia became. two days before Thanksgiving in a tragic spate of violence.
Democratic lawmakers pointed to a “dramatic decline” in mass shootings following the decade-long ban on assault weapons in 1994.
When Biden returned to the White House Sunday afternoon after spending the Thanksgiving break with his family in Nantucket, the gun issue came back to the fore.
On Thursday, the Thanksgiving Day itself, Biden spoke about the “scourge” of gun violence and said he wants to sign legislation banning high-powered weapons that could quickly kill many people.
“The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick. Just sick,” Biden said. “I’ll try to get rid of offensive weapons.”
The Democrat-led House of Representatives in July passed legislation reviving the 1990s assault weapon ban after passing a landmark bipartisan gun law that strengthened background checks and red flag laws allowing authorities to remove firearms from people , which pose a danger .
But the bill isn’t going anywhere in the Senate where it would take 60 votes to pass, and Democrats lack Republican support.
Jim Clyburn, whip of the majority in the House of Representatives, admitted that an assault weapons ban and other gun restrictions would not get through Congress, even in the lame duck session while Democrats still control the House, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t worth pursuing.
“Just because it’s legal [to buy a gun] doesn’t mean it’s right. Slavery was legal, but it wasn’t right,” he said.
Murphy, who has been the leading Senate advocate for stronger gun control since 2012 at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, also told CNN Sunday that one avenue Democrats could take is to increase federal funding for county law enforcement to restrict those who declare themselves gun sanctuaries.
“We learned in Colorado that the county where the shooting took place was what is known as a Second Amendment Sanctuary State,” Murphy said. “The majority of counties in this country have said they will not enforce state and federal gun laws.”
“It’s a growing problem in the country and we need to talk about it in the Senate. Do we want to continue providing resources to law enforcement in counties that refuse to enforce state and federal gun laws?”
Red flag laws, Murphy added, have proven extremely popular across the county, but “we have to do something” about the refusal of 60% of counties to enforce gun control laws.
On NBC, Republican Congressman from Kentucky said James Comer regarding additional gun regulations: “We already have many gun laws on the books…the number one crime priority in America for Republicans is going to be the fentanyl crisis” regarding the illicit drug trade in the US-Mexican border.
Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” notes Comer that “the states that have the most guns [control] Laws have the lowest gun crime per capita, and the states with the fewest gun laws seem to have the most… so there’s a correlation here, if you as a state have more gun-related laws on the books, you have… fewer gun-related deaths. That is statistically proven.”
Comer responded that most households in rural America have guns and “there’s not a lot of crime” because criminals know people are armed.