After the second mass shooting in 24 hours took place in his home state’s Dayton, Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made an urgent appeal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — call back the Senate from its summer recess and reconvene in an emergency session to pass strict gun regulations to fight the plague of gun violence in America.
“We wake up to grief and sadness about these victims and these families, but it pretty quickly turns to anger that our government hasn’t done anything,” Brown said on CBS‘s Face the Nation.
“Mitch McConnell should bring us back into session on Monday. … The president needs to sign this bill,” Brown continued. “We know that background checks worked. We know that a ban on assault weapons worked. … Those are the first two things we should do.”
Ohio @SenSherrodBrown is calling on @senatemajldr to call the Senate back into session to “pass the assault weapon ban that the House… passed, get it to the president's desk, make sure the president signs it. Then we figure other things out.” pic.twitter.com/kMpapD1ftk
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 4, 2019
With 29 people killed and scores of others wounded in two mass shootings — at least one of which is being investigated as an incident of white nationalist domestic terrorism — the need for action is as undeniable as it has been in the wake of the multiple other violent killing sprees that have taken place in the past.
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Whether the latest shootings will result in actual gun control regulations being passed unlike after the shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a Las Vegas country music festival, or a Parkland, Florida high school is yet to be determined.
With some GOP politicians, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, proposing “red-flag” bills that would deny weapons to people who have mental health issues, Senator Brown rejected those suggestions as mere half-measures that would be incomplete without an assault weapons ban and universal background checks.
Brown faulted Republicans for deflecting attention from effective solutions that would be unpopular with the gun manufacturer lobbyists who donate heavily to the GOP.
“Of course people who have stood with the NRA in their careers will start to deflect into something else,” Senator Brown said.
Confronted with a question about how he would respond to claims that gun restrictions would leave only criminals with weapons and wouldn’t prevent mass killings, Brown provided a potent argument for banning assault rifles.
“They’re not going to stop every one of those. No one’s ever contended they will,” Brown replied. “Background checks work. We know that.”
Pointing out that the Dayton shooter managed to kill nine people in less than 30 seconds before being killed by police, Brown said that the speed with which the killings took place was due to the availability of automatic weapons with high capacity magazines.
“That says that the police of Dayton are terrific,” Brown said. However, it also demonstrates that “he had enough ammunition to kill potentially a hundred or 200 people, and that’s why you ban the assault weapons.”
Whether a groundswell of public sentiment will force the Senate Majority Leader to heed Senator Brown’s call for a special session of the Senate remains to be seen, but if Senator McConnell refuses to do so, it will only add fire to the campaign to #DitchMoscowMitch in the upcoming 2020 election.
Anyone betting that the “Grim Reaper” — as McConnell has referred to himself — will break precedent and reverse course on gun regulations faces tough odds as Republicans wait for the media furor over the shootings to die down and go back to business as usual, obstructing the passage of legislation from the Democratic House of Representatives.
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Original reporting by Zack Budryk at The Hill.