WASHINGTON — How lucky for Congressional Republicans that the latest shooting massacres — 34 killed in El Paso, Dayton and the Garlic Festival in California with more wounded — took place while lawmakers are on summer break, so they are spared the pretense of walking through the Capitol pretending they are really trying to do something about curbing gun violence.
The big blocker is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The Democratic House has sent gun bills to the Senate that McConnell refuses to consider.
An exception to Republican congressional intransigence is Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who represents a district outside of Chicago and is one of the, so far, handful of Republicans willing to do something about guns.
“Whether it’s a high-profile shooting like the tragedy in El Paso and Dayton this weekend or the daily gun violence in Chicago just north of my hometown, we have become numb to this senselessness,” Kinzinger wrote in a Monday article published at Medium.com
“… We have a gun violence epidemic, and to address it, we need to change some laws and change some hearts.”
Kinzinger, with his own back channel ties to the White House, came out for so-called “red flag” laws to prevent those with warning signs from getting access to weapons; universal background checks for gun purchases; raising the firearm purchase age to 21 and “banning certain high-capacity magazines, like the 100-round drum the Dayton shooter used this weekend.”
The biggest lift is getting a ban on military-style assault weapons, which Kinzinger, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, does not oppose. Kinzinger’s strategy is to do the other steps first. The nation had an assault weapons ban between 1994 and 2004, with it impossible so far to get it reinstated.
Kinzinger could emerge as a key player on this.
Congress — mostly GOP lawmakers, but Democrats too — have done little on gun control since the 1999 Columbine slaughter in Colorado, the deadly shooting usually at the start of the mass killing timelines.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump heads to Dayton, then to El Paso — a border city he has vilified — to pay condolence calls for slaughters on his watch, occurring in an atmosphere of extremism and white nationalism he helped create and nurture.
The gunman in El Paso wrote a manifesto deploring an “invasion of Hispanics” before he took aim at Mexicans and Mexican-Americans at a Walmart.
On Tuesday, the FBI started investigating the Dayton killer’s interest in “violent ideologies” with federal authorities in California on Tuesday also launching a domestic terrorism investigation of the Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman.
Spare us, Ivanka Trump, your outrage over shootings in Chicago’s “inner city.” She took to Twitter on Tuesday to flag Chicago’s latest weekend murder toll, as if she were the only one who noticed.
Ivanka wrote — though her facts are wrong — “As we grieve over the evil mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, let us not overlook that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year. … With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground in the Windy City — and little national outrage or media coverage — we mustn’t become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day,” she said.
Ivanka conflated several incidents. According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ count, there were seven dead and 46 wounded in shootings in various places in Chicago, counting all homicides in the city between 5 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday.
The White House, in a statement, said Tuesday night, “to the extent that her quote was misleading in implying that all of the shooting incidents occurred in one location, it remains important to note that there were seven deaths and 52 wounded across the city, resulting in one of the deadliest weekends in the city this year. Her point remains the same, we cannot ignore the gun violence that happens in cities across this country on a daily basis.”
If you don’t want to ignore gun violence, then do something about it.
If Ivanka Trump really wants to help Chicago’s gun problem, she should aim some tweets at McConnell, or better yet, the president.