On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a listening to on gun violence only one week after a sequence of deadly shootings within the Atlanta space and fewer than 24 hours after one other gunman killed 10 folks in a Colorado grocery store.
During his opening remarks, Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) characterised gun violence within the U.S. as an endless scourge and scolded his Senate colleagues, particularly Republicans, for opposing gun security measures that Democrats and anti-violence activists have supported for years.
“I can’t change and amend my opening statement to keep up with it,” Durbin mentioned, referring to the truth that he had introduced Tuesday’s listening to earlier than the latest taking pictures. “It just keeps coming at us.” He additionally famous that gun violence in America is a frequent incidence that disproportionately harms nonwhite folks and went on to criticize legislators who merely supply ideas and prayers to the victims of gun violence.
“Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders,” Durbin mentioned. “What are we doing?”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed Durbin’s name for pressing motion.
“Inaction by this Congress makes us complicit,” mentioned Blumenthal, who skilled it firsthand when conservative lawmakers thwarted gun security measures following the mass taking pictures at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee had been intent to not let the previous week’s spate of gun deaths deter their opposition on Tuesday to Democrats’ requires gun security measures, together with common background checks, a extensively fashionable coverage that has confronted nonstop opposition by gun producers and the just lately bankrupt Republican-backed National Rifle Association.
“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mentioned of Tuesday’s listening to. He falsely claimed that Democrats have proposed “taking away guns from law-abiding citizens” and repeated a doubtful declare that an modification he supported to dam common background checks whereas bettering public data would have prevented earlier mass shootings. PolitiFact found that claim false when Cruz first started making it in 2017.
At occasions, Republican senators tried to ring a bell of compassion by acknowledging the previous week’s gun violence whereas proposing little to cease it — however others merely resorted to racist stereotypes.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) in contrast gun security laws to Islamophobia, likening Democrats’ push for gun security legal guidelines after mass shootings to Republicans’ condemnation of Muslims “when a Muslim jihadist blows up a school full of children” as a result of, Kennedy added, “many terrorists are Muslim.”
Six of the eight folks murdered in final week within the Atlanta-area spa shootings had been Asian, and antiracist activists have decried stereotypes just like the one Kennedy utilized in his testimony.
Kennedy additionally downplayed America’s historically high rate of gun violence over the past year, evaluating the disaster to drunk driving.
“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people. We ought to try to combat that, too,” he mentioned.
Democrats on the committee invited an array of gun security advocates to function witnesses, together with public well being professionals and family members of gun violence victims who spoke on the necessity for focused laws to curb the disaster.
“At hospitals across the country, we have seen the pain of gun violence. We are cleaning the blood from our gloved hands” mentioned Dr. Selwyn Rogers, who directs the trauma middle on the University of Chicago. “We can wash away the blood, but the pain stays with us.”
Another witness, Robin Brule, testified that she is a proud gun proprietor however that her help for gun security measures stems from the homicide of her 75-year-old mom, Ruth, killed throughout a house invasion in 2016.
“We always hear the saying about being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time,’ but if a retirement community at 8 a.m. is the wrong place at the wrong time, where is the right place at the right time?” Brule requested. She is a supporter of common background checks.
Republicans on the committee invited witnesses who downplayed the influence of gun security measures and defended the gun trade.
“The firearms industry has unfairly been under assault,” mentioned Geneva Solomon, a gun retailer proprietor and member of a corporation known as the National African American Gun Association. During her testimony, Solomon mentioned she and different gun-sellers in California ought to truly be capable of promote extra gun attachments than the state at the moment permits.
Republicans additionally invited as a witness Chris Cheng, knowledgeable sport shooter who appeared on a History Channel tv present. Cheng, an Asian man who has made a dwelling off of the gun trade, claimed that “Asian Americans are flocking in droves to buy guns” in response to the rise in anti-Asian crimes.
“I encourage people to be their own first responder,” he mentioned.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to develop into a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter