Poll after poll show the vast majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws. Well, new gun legislation was crafted recently. It’s just not what most of the country had in mind.
On Dec. 6, Republicans rammed a bill through the U.S. House of Representatives that would make it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. The bill, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, passed the House 231-198, largely along party lines. The National Rifle Association-backed legislation now heads to the Senate.
With the country reeling from a string of mass shootings, why are Republicans seeking to loosen gun laws?Is this bill really necessary? Is carrying concealed weapons across state lines something the average American citizen is concerned about? We think not, and we’re not alone.
Connecticut senator Chris Murphy and congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, who represents our state’s 5th District, which includes Newtown, blasted the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
Said Murphy: “A national concealed weapons law is a terrible, dangerous idea. This bill passed today in the House would allow a criminal who bought a gun without a background check in Florida to carry that gun, concealed under his clothing, into Times Square. That's why law enforcement officials all over the country hate this bill.”
Esty, too, did not mince words. “It is outrageous that today, of all days, one week before the five-year anniversary of the horrific murder of 20 schoolchildren in my district, and just two months after the slaughter of over 50 Americans in Las Vegas, that we are acting on a bill to put more guns in the hands of more dangerous people,” said Esty, who also represents Meriden and Cheshire. “Rather than helping raise the standards nationally for gun safety, this bill would lower them, making it easier for domestic abusers, stalkers, and violent criminals to carry loaded, hidden weapons across state lines.”
The Connecticut lawmakers’ exasperation is understandable. Gun violence in our country is out of control, and many Washington politicians appear disinterested in addressing this fact.
The numbers don’t lie, however. According to Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization which advocates for gun control, between January 2009 and December 2016, a staggering 156 mass shootings took place in the U.S.
And the bloodshed continued in 2017. Back in June, congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot by a deranged man during an early-morning baseball practice in Virginia. Then, on Oct. 1, a gunman killed 58 people and injured 546 at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. And weeks later, on Nov. 5, a gunman slayed 26 people inside a church in rural Texas.
The Republican response to all this carnage? A bill which aims to make it easier to carry concealed weapons across state lines. Talk about being politically tone deaf.