The president warns that everyday places have become the new fields of massacres
The Uvalde families asked him to try it, and Joe Biden did, albeit without much faith. “Erase the invisible lines that divide this nation. Propose something to fix what isn’t working and make the necessary changes so that this doesn’t happen again,” the grandmother of one of the children who died in Uvalde told him in writing, in a letter she handed him on Sunday inside the Church of the Sacred heart.
He did not lack an opportunity to deliver the speech that he began to weave immediately. The Tulsa (Oklahoma) massacre, where a frustrated patient killed four people before committing suicide, meant that last night he did not wait any longer to address the nation. By his count, there had already been a score of mass shootings, 22 by the Gun Violence Files. “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?” he asked.
It was not about preaching for believers, as the Republicans accuse him, convinced that the Democrats only intend to mobilize their bases for the November legislative elections. The president aimed at the conscience of “responsible gun owners,” beginning by assuring them that he has no intention of taking them away from them. What he is proposing, he insisted, are “common sense” measures that many of them advocate. Like extending to gun shows and private sales the obligation to check the criminal and mental history of the buyer against the bases of the FBI, something that is supported by 83% of voters, including 77% of Republicans, according to a poll of Morning Consult for Politico. In other words, a more popular measure than the aid plan to alleviate the effects of covid.
Still, that would not have prevented the massacres that have made headlines in recent times, because those who perpetrated them had no record. That is why Biden was more ambitious in resurrecting the ban on assault weapons, such as the AR-15 used by the Tulsa hospital gunman on Tuesday, last week by the frustrated teenager from Uvalde, or the previous week by the young racist from the supermarket in buffalo. “Why in God’s name does anyone need high-capacity cartridge belts that can fire hundreds of bullets in minutes?” he wondered.
The prohibition of the same, along with assault rifles and up to a total of nine categories of weapons, was part of the law approved in 1994 with the support of former presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Since it expired in 2004, the number of fatalities left by mass shootings has tripled, although its impact on common crime has been minimal when used in 1% of crimes, according to data from the National Rifle Association (NRA). . “And if we can’t pass it at least we should be able to raise the legal age to get it to 21,” he proposed. That would have kept the gunmen in Buffalo and Uvalde waiting three more years and, perhaps, the chance that they would never carry out a massacre, because the president’s plan also includes a package for psychological aid.
Another of his proposals, a “red flags” law, would prohibit the sale of weapons to disturbed individuals who show signs of using them against themselves or others. The young man from Buffalo, however, was not prevented, despite the fact that New York is one of the states that he already has. Payton Gendron was psychiatrically evaluated last year after he made a threat at his high school, but there was no further intervention because it was deemed too generic.
The president warned that everyday places have become the killing fields of these massacres. Churches, supermarkets, cinemas, schools, shopping centers, offices… Nobody is safe. Everyday places are “the new fields of massacres.” However, six months before the mid-term legislative elections, the new attempt to limit access to firearms will most likely be a dead letter, because no legislator will want to risk losing a single vote. Biden, in addition, put on alert precisely those who he was trying to appease by asking for the legal responsibility of weapons manufacturers, as was done with tobacco companies, and the personal responsibility of those who do not keep their weapons under lock and key. As if that weren’t enough, by saying that the second amendment to the Constitution “is not absolute,” he was putting everyone the powerful National Rifle Association has been scaring on guard about the possibility that the Democrats will limit it.
“This time we have to do something,” the president pleaded. “This is not about taking away anyone’s rights, but about protecting our children and our families. To protect our freedom to send them to school, to go to the market or to mass without being killed».
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