Gun control redux
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?
The Massachusetts Senate approves its climate change package of legislation and sends it to the House. (Associated Press)
Gov. Charlie Baker wants to change state law to make birth, death, and marriage certificates virtually impossible to access for decades by anyone other first-degree relatives. (Boston Globe)
Advocates push for an anti-female genital mutilation law. (Telegram & Gazette)
Fears of coronavirus are sparking anti-Chinese racism around the world, including in the Boston area. (Boston Globe) The Boston Symphony Orchestra cancels an East Asia tour because of coronavirus. (WBUR)
The two people Mayor Marty Walsh has tapped to fill vacancies on the scandal-plagued Zoning Board of Appeal have both donated to his campaign. (Boston Herald)
Princeton celebrates high-speed internet access. (Telegram & Gazette)
Efforts to have witnesses called in President Trump’s impeachment trial appear to be falling short, and the expected vote to acquit him could happen today. (Washington Post)
A Massachusetts man keeps popping up in the middle of undercover capers. Michael Taylor is wanted by Japanese authorities for helping an auto executive out on bail flee the country. He also has ties to the infamous “booze cruise” in 1999 that brought down then-Massport director Peter Blute. (CommonWealth)
Patrick Beaudry of Holyoke announces a run for 5th Hampden District House seat being vacated by Aaron Vega. (MassLive.com)
Absentee ballots are available for the state’s March 3 presidential primary. (WGBH)
With 14 local letters of non-opposition already having been doled out by his predecessor, Jasiel Correia, Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan said Thursday that he doesn’t see himself granting any approval to new cannabis businesses looking to move to the city. (Herald News)
A state report indicates Massachusetts is an outlier among the states in its hands-off approach toward gifted students. Do we have a lowest common denominator approach to education? (CommonWealth)
Massachusetts scientists are expressing concern that federal charges against a Harvard professor are part of a broad-brush sweep against researchers with connections to China. (Boston Globe)
The New York Times has a very helpful and comprehensive explainer about coronavirus.
Meth use and addiction are rising on Cape Cod, says state Sen. Julian Cyr, who chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. (Cape Cod Times)
Enrollment through the state Health Connector reached an all-time high in 2020. (Boston Globe)
The MBTA’s plan to locate a new bus repair garage at a former Loew’s site in Quincy is getting pushback from neighbors. (Patriot Ledger) Meanwhile, solar panels over a commuter rail lot in Hingham are still not producing electricity more than a year after being installed. (Patriot Ledger)
Gov. Charlie Baker included money in his 2021 budget proposal to help seed a start-up effort aimed at developing innovative businesses that tackle transportation and mobility challenges. (Boston Globe)
Electrical issue causes major headaches on commuter rail. (Gloucester Daily Times)
In the Senate climate bill, lawmakers see new jobs and economic opportunity for Western Massachusetts (MassLive.com)
Solar panels the MBTA built in Hingham are still not generating electricity— a year later. (Patriot Ledger)
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is seeking public input on whether it should consider granting a license for a casino in southeastern Massachusetts. (State House News Service)
The Supreme Judicial Court rules that blind people can be jurors, and that judges should make the call on a case-by-case basis. (CommonWealth)
MEDIAAlden Global Capital buys a 5.9 percent stake in Lee Enterprises, the company that just purchased all of Warren Buffett-run Berkshire Hathaway’s newspaper holdings. Alden is known for buying up newspaper properties and squeezing costs (and reporters) out of them. (Nieman Journalism Lab)
The Boston Globe is now uppercasing Black because, as editor Brian McGrory says in an email to staff, “the word has evolved from a description of a person’s skin color to signify a race and culture, and as such, deserves uppercase treatment in the same way that other races — Latino being one example — are capitalized.” (Media Nation)