President Joe Biden’s continued calls for gun control may be falling on deaf ears as key Democrat lawmakers’ concerns over midterm elections grow.
On Monday, Biden marked the four-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that resulted in the deaths of 14 students and 3 faculty members, calling for Congress to take action.
On February 14th, 2018, a gunman stole the lives of 14 students and 3 educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Today we mourn with the Parkland families whose lives were upended and stand with those working to end the epidemic of gun violence. Congress must act.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 14, 2022
Despite control of both houses of Congress and the White House, Democrats have stalled on one of their core promises to their activist base, The Hill reported.
With a slim margin, the House of Representatives had passed two gun-control bills in March 2021. With a 227-203 vote in favor of expanding background checks and a 219-210 vote giving the FBI 10 days for background checks on buyers, and since last summer no action has been taken on either.
These bills were the least the Senate Democrats thought they would be able to accomplish with their even split in the upper chamber. Past attempts at so-called assault weapons bans and high capacity magazine bans had failed 40-60 and 46-54 respectively.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) had been negotiating with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) up until last summer when Murphy said they had not arrived at anything worth voting on. “Cornyn negotiated in good faith,” he said before adding, “where we ended up just was not better than current law.”
Senate Democrats may be in a no-win scenario though. Igor Volsky, co-founder of Gun Down America, said that activist groups like his had been promised action on the legislation by Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) nearly a year ago.
“We’ve been promised by Senate Majority Leader Schumer as far back as March, April,” Volsky said, “that there would be a vote during the summer, then it got pushed back even further.”
He went on to call out the empty promises of the Democrats: “They’re using this familiar playbook of making all kinds of promises during the campaign and then [failing] to deliver anything when they’re in power.”
“It hasn’t come up in conversation in the last year,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) told the Hill. Representing a state where almost two-thirds of adults have a firearm in their home, it’s understandable that he would shy from the topic. But, he signaled that it had barely been discussed by the rest of the Senate Democratic Caucus during 2021.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who was part of the negotiations on the failed bills of the past said, “No, there hasn’t been any changes whatsoever,” referring to further talks on these tabled bills.
Without the necessary votes from Republicans for either bill to advance through the Senate, Biden has likely stuck his own party members with a severe liability.
Thrusting the blame on Congress to “do much more,” as Biden put it in order to “uphold that solemn obligation,” and “to keep each other safe” through gun-control legislation leaves Schumer on the hook if he doesn’t hold a vote.
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