OnPolitics: Two mass shootings in less than a week

The nation is once again reeling from gun violence. 

Last week were the Atlanta area mass shootings that left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian American women. This week it’s the Boulder, Colorado, shooting, in which 10 people, including a police officer, were killed.

Now, President Joe Biden is calling for swift action on gun control legislation. 

It’s Mabinty, with the top news of the day. 

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The President has had enough 

In the aftermath of Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Biden called on Congress to “immediately pass” legislation that would close loopholes in gun background checks and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. 

“As president,” he said, “I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe.” Biden pointed to two bills that passed the House this month that would “close loopholes in the background system,” urging the Senate to move with urgency to pass both. 

  • The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 would expand background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms.
  • The Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close the “Charleston loophole,” a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed.

Biden also directed flags at the White House to be flown at half staff, just hours after the president’s previous order to honor the Atlanta victims by lowering the flags expired.

The Senate weighs in on gun violence, too

Senators debated with new urgency Tuesday how to address gun violence in America after a string of mass shootings in the past week. Republicans and Democrats on the committee agreed that prevention was the best way to stop mass shootings. But they disagreed on how to do so and how far to go. 

On the left:

  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called gun violence in the United States a “public health crisis.” 
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said “inaction has made this horror completely predictable. Inaction by this Congress makes us complicit.”

On the right: 

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., said “Like many Americans, I cherish my right to bear arms. In the dialogue about gun control, we rarely consider how many Americans are united in their advocacy and enjoyment of this right.” 
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, agreed there have been “far too many tragedies in our country.” But, he said, “every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders.”

While the Second Amendment and gun control is perceived as a politically divisive issue, many measures have support from Americans on both sides, according to a 2019 survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

OK, what else is going on? 

  • Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Billie Eilish demand Congress pass voting rights bill
  • Supreme Court wrestles with complex questions of tribal power arising from late-night traffic stop
  • 9 bills from guns to George Floyd to the ERA wait in the Senate: Will any get enough Republican support to pass?

Please keep Boulder and Atlanta in your thoughts as they recover. —Mabinty 

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