Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E) – The gory “Las Vegas massacre” of Oct. 1 has reignited the intractable gun control debate in the U.S. Congress, and pundits this early are confidently predicting Republicans will do nothing to legislate stricter gun controls in the wake of backlash from the powerful National Rifle Association of America (NRA).
Republicans, who now control Congress, the presidency and most of the governorships in the U.S., are expected to again do nothing to stem the rising tide and death toll inflicted by gun violence.
They did nothing in the wake of the massacre of 20 children (ages six and seven) at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut 2012. Congress also enacted no legislation restricting firearms after subsequent mass shootings, including last year’s carnage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida where 49 people were shot dead.
Nothing is expected of Congress this time around. And the next time around.
“To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers,” tweeted Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.
“None of this ends unless we do something to stop it.”
Later on the Senate floor, Sen. Murphy said “Thoughts and prayers need to be matched by action.”
“The reason why we exist is to act, is to change the laws of the nation, to address challenges that our constituents face.”
This time around, Republicans seem to be taking their cue from president Donald Trump, who said “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”
In both houses of Congress, Democrats are attempting to force an immediate dialogue to jumpstart legislation on measures with broad public support, such as expanding background checks for gun purchasers and scrutinizing firearms sales at gun shows.
“If ISIS had just killed 59 people, every Republican and the President of the United States would be saying we need to take action now,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
“When is the time to debate this?” asked Hoyer.
“Is there ever a time to debate this or are we so cowed by the National Rifle Association that we can’t even talk about this issue and think about how we can make America safe again?”
“You know, I thought Sandy Hook would. I thought Columbine would. I thought 101 California would,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said. “None of that did.”
On the evening of Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock, a 64 year-old retiree with a penchant for gambling and guns, opened fire on concert goers in Las Vegas with modified semi-automatic rifles, killing 58 people and injuring 527 others. Many of those injured were shot.
It was the worst and bloodiest mass shooting in United States history.
No motive has been established as to why Paddock, described as a reticent but law-abiding citizen, turned into a gruesome mass murderer.
There is no sign Republicans will stand up to the NRA this time around and have done nothing except to sneer at the motives of Democrats for aggressively pushing stricter gun controls.
In the United States, more than 30,000 people are killed with guns each year, including more than 20,000 suicides. Rifles, including assault weapons, are used in 3.55% of gun murders annually, according to FBI statistics.
African Americans, who represent 13 percent of the total population, constitute over half of overall gun murder victims.
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