Gun control redux
Warren pushes new bill, but same outcome expected
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And again, and again.
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat running for president, and US Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, on Thursday introduced the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act, a bill the sponsors say, “includes and builds upon Congressional Democrats’ strongest gun safety legislation in one bold, comprehensive bill that works to end the epidemic of gun violence in America.”
US Sen. Ed Markey, who has introduced his own gun control bill, and the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation, all Democrats, have signed on. It has support from groups like the Massachusetts Medical Society, Boston Medical Center, the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
The bill includes policies Democrats have been pushing for years, like expanding federal background checks, banning assault weapons, creating a waiting period for gun sales, and making gun manufacturers liable in civil lawsuits. It would limit gun purchases to one a month, fund federal research into gun violence, and raise the minimum age for buying a gun to 21.
But if the massacres of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida were not enough to sway the Republican-led Senate to update federal gun laws, why now?
The sponsors say the bill was introduced to coincide with “National Gun Violence Survivors Week.” It also coincides with the upcoming presidential primaries where Warren is trying to consolidate support among a field of Democrats who overwhelmingly support new gun control measures. The New York Times reported that presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is spending $11 million on a Super Bowl ad featuring a mother who lost her son to gun violence.
John Rosenthal, founder of the Boston-based Stop Handgun Violence, who helped Warren draft the bill, said the bill is based on Massachusetts’ successful gun laws. Rosenthal said Warren wanted to introduce the bill sooner, “but impeachment takes the oxygen out of everything” in Washington. And, he added, why not now? “Why wait until another big enough mass shooting for people to pay attention?”
With little new to report, the media is treating the bill’s rollout accordingly. The Boston Globe noted in the second paragraph of its story that the bill “incorporates several existing Senate bills that have gone nowhere in the Republican-controlled chamber.” The Globe writes that the bill is unlikely to even get a Senate hearing, but it does show the direction Democrats will go in should they retake Congress and the White House in November.
There was some coverage in other regional newspapers like NJ.com, the hometown paper of bill cosponsor Sen. Robert Menendez, and broadcast news station WROC in Rochester, New York, the district of cosponsor Rep. Joe Morelle.But a search of other national, Washington-based, and Massachusetts media finds nary a mention.
Maybe a better aphorism would be, if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?