In the aftermath of a deadly shooting at a Florida high school, some spectators are wondering whether gun control will ever become a politically solvent debate.
Hours after a 19-year old killed at least 17 people fleeing their classes in Parkland, Fla., a former Republican congressman made a bleak observation on national news media.
“There is a lot that is perhaps unknown, politically,” said two-time Rep. David Jolly (FL),” but let’s be brutally honest about what we do know, and I say this as a Republican: Republicans will never do anything on gun control.”
A recent news piece published in The Washington Post Thursday speculated that Jolly – while perhaps a tad too cynical – didn’t hit reality far off its mark. Despite an uptick in mass shootings, few conservative legislators seem primed to move forward on gun control.
Even passing bills which don’t begin to threaten the fundamentals of the Second Amendment seems an onerous task, no matter how supported it may be by the American public.
In the aftermath of an October bloodbath in Las Vegas, lawmakers vowed to take action against ‘bump stocks,’ a firearm accessory capable of simulating automatic fire in semiautomatic rifles. Polls showed a broad majority of citizens – 73%, according to Quinnipiac – wanted the devices banned.
Surprisingly, even the National Rifle Association lent its weight to the endeavor, saying it supported an ATF measure to take bump stocks off the market.
While the NRA’s initiative may have been to keep policy in the hands of bureaucrats rather than career politicians staring down tragedy, a move seemingly supported by the biggest name in firearms politics dissipated.
Four months since Stephen Paddock gunned down and injured nearly 1,000 people in Las Vegas and no meaningful measures on gun control have been seriously considered by Congress. Bump stocks are still viewed with skepticism, but their legal status is becoming increasingly uncertain.
The president and conservative politicians began a familiar loop of offering condolences to victims to reassurance to arms manufacturers.
2/2 We're awaiting details on the 2nd threat report. In both cases, the FBI didn’t share the information with local law enforcement. It’s not clear that the FBI ever identified the suspect as the same person who made the YouTube threat.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 15, 2018
Trump insisted the shooter was “mentally disturbed,” dodging the gun control debate in its entirety. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) turned down Democrats’ demand to start a legislative committee on finding legal solutions to firearms violence.
“This is not the time to jump to some conclusion,” he said.
And the Post suggests that, tragic as Parkland may be, the political focus may be on culpability and scandal rather than cause and effect. President Trump has already – albeit subtly – backed a series of tweets alleging that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was too busy working on the Russia investigation to investigate threatening YouTube comments allegedly left by the shooter shortly before the killings.
That, writes Aaron Blake of The Washington Post, may couple with Trump’s focus on mental health, leaving Americans reeling without recourse in the wake of yet another national tragedy.