Wed, 29 Jun 2022

Can U.S. turn pain of gun violence into action?

26 May 2022, 21:05 GMT+10

It seems every U.S. politician asks or is asked the question in the wake of every mass shooting, but their answers have always been prepared along the party line.

At the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, both spoke on the 50-50 Senate floor following the Uvalde school shooting.

Schumer called on Republicans to pass pro-gun control legislation to help end "the plague of gun violence that has taken over this country," while McConnell put the blame clearly on the 18-year-old gunman, describing him as "deranged" and "maniac."

The top Senate Democrat didn't mention the shooter's possible mental health issue, and the top Senate Republican didn't mention the shooter's easy access to high-powered weapons, let alone any preventative legislative solutions.

The U.S. Congress has failed to pass any major gun control laws in more than two decades. Even though the legislation had majority support, it failed under Senate filibuster rules.

© Provided by Xinhua

A similar but possibly more dramatic scenario took place at a press conference held by Texan leaders in Uvalde on Wednesday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican seeking reelection this year, also placed the blame for the shooting on mental illness, though he admitted that the gunman, who was killed by law enforcement on the scene, had no known mental health history.

"Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it," Abbott said at the press conference, downplaying concerns about an 18-year-old's ability to purchase firearms.

"This is totally predictable," Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke yelled at the governor, angrily interrupting the press conference and being led away by officers.

"This is on you," O'Rourke told Abbott. "The time to stop the next shooting is now, and you are doing nothing."

In response, the governor, who had signed a law last year allowing Texans over 21 to legally carry handguns without needing a license, called on people to "put aside personal agendas," implying that O'Rourke's interruption was behind political motives.

© Provided by Xinhua

Fierce partisan fights make Biden's plea for action against rampant gun violence across the country seem like "weak tea," local analysts said.

The United States has seen at least 212 mass shootings so far this year, according to the nonprofit research group Gun Violence Archive. As of Tuesday, over 31,300 people have died or been injured due to gun-related incidents in the country this year.

The Uvalde shooting isn't likely to meaningfully change the status quo, said a VOX report.

"By doing nothing to prevent gun violence, (our) nation chooses this pain," said an editorial published by the San Antonio Express-News.

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