The perennial American gun reform debate has been raging for weeks with an intensity that feels truly unprecedented. After a murderous gunman entered a high school in Parkland, Florida and murdered 17 people — including numerous students — it has finally become clear to much of the country that new gun legislation can no longer be postponed.
The cause is being championed by students who survived the horrific massacre, giving the movement a set of young, articulate activists to lead the charge. Not surprisingly, the brave survivors have already become targets for the smear machine that is the right-wing media.
Yesterday, President Trump held a freewheeling bipartisan discussion on gun reform in which he seemed to completely reject his party’s long-held beliefs on gun control in favor of spitballing suggestions that seemed to be in line with what Democrats have been proposing for some time now.
He accused some of the members of Congress in attendance of being too afraid of the NRA to act, which is sure to infuriate the organization given that they donated millions upon millions of dollars to get him elected.
The president rebuffed Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) after the Majority Whip (himself a victim of gun violence) suggested a law allowing concealed carry across state lines. Trump told Scalise he believes such a provision would never pass a vote. Trump also seemed open to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) suggestion of an assault weapon ban, a measure which much of the GOP base opposes.
At one point Trump even suggested having the police seizing guns and then figuring out due process afterward, a proposal that would have had gun owners calling for violent revolution in the streets if President Obama had called for it. Such a move is illegal and as soon as the words left his mouth the far-right gun fetishists and a bevy of conservatives who often support Trump pounced.
For a moment, it seemed like gun legislation was not only possible but just over the horizon. Now, that appears not to be the case. CNN reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has announced the next tranche of the legislative agenda, and it’s not related to firearms.
The Senate will be focusing on a banking bill next week, McConnell stated. The bill will focus on deregulation — specifically changes to the Dodd-Frank Act passed under Obama that was put in place after the financial crisis of 2008 — because apparently, Republicans can’t stand the idea of being in majority power for even a year without abusing said power to set the entire country up for another economic crash.
In other words, rather than prevent the further murdering of children McConnell is choosing to arm Wall Street to once again run the global economy into the ground. It’s not only a stark betrayal of the brave survivors who have been advocating for changes in our gun law, it’s a betrayal of the middle class and gift-wrapped present to plutocrats.
“We’d love to do that at some point. I’m hoping there is a way forward,” McConnell said of gun reform, giving a tepid statement that inspires little confidence that it will ever become a priority for him. History will reflect terribly on him and the damage he continues to inflict on this nation.