Editor’s note: Julian Zelizer is a political analyst at CNN and professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 24 books, including The Donald J. Trump Presidency: A First Historical Appraisal. Follow him on Twitter Embed Tweet. The opinions expressed in this remark are his own. Reviews More opinion on CNN.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz responded to the horrific shooting incident at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, Texas – which left 19 children and two adults behind – with a familiar smile.
Expressing his sadness for the victims of this massacre, the senator warned: “Whenever there is a murderer of this nature, you see politicians trying to politicize it, you see Democrats and many people in the media whose immediate solution is to try to limit the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. ” “It does not work. It is inactive. It does not prevent crime.”
Once again, on point, Cruz, along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump, is scheduled to be at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting this weekend, about 280 miles from where terrorism spreads.
Cruz’s words in the wake of this tragedy have become a popular rhetorical move by a number of conservative opponents of rational arms control policy.
Every time the nation experiences another round of brutal violence, with offenders releasing the kind of guns meant for soldiers or Hollywood thrillers, some conservatives call on those who call on the federal government to do more. to do to stop the proliferation of weapons to stop them. . To be very political. But every time conservatives make this appeal, they are in fact politicizing the guns.
This political push and pull around gun control is why we have not taken strong federal action since President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Congress passed a ban on assault weapons in 1994. Since this legislation was signed into law, the arms control policy has made little progress. In fact, since the ban ended in 2004, it has been held back.
And now the Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative bloc, may be on the verge of ruling against one of the country’s strictest gun control laws in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. brown New York State requires that anyone wishing to carry a gun in public must have a license, not have a criminal record, be of “good moral character” and have a “proper reason” to ‘ to carry a gun. More than average public safety concerns.
Meanwhile, the nation is living in a constant series of mass shooting incidents that leave us in mourning. Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Primary School comes nearly a decade after the Sandy Hook massacre. On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old man killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Some lawmakers responded by pushing for stronger gun control.
“We need to work together and take sensible action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics,” said then-President Barack Obama. The National Rifle Association has called for armed security guards in schools. Other elected officials, especially Republicans, ask for “our thoughts and prayers,” but a little more than that.
With each new shooting, the pattern repeats itself: anger escalates, proposals for gun reform emerge, and many elected NRA-backed officials – concentrated in the Republican Party – stand up and resist any change in policy. Some advocates of the controls Stop playing politics problem while waiting for public interest to continue. Their strategy works.
Over time, due to the increasing number of people killed by gunfire, public opinion has shifted in favor of stronger gun control.
A 2019 study by the Pew Research Center found that 93% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans support background investigations into private gun sales and those at gun shows. In 2021, Pew found that 53% of Americans believe gun control should be stricter. This position had much stronger support among Democrats than among Republicans, but the number of supporters across political parties for unspecified arms reform formed a majority.
Following public opinion, there were proposals that enjoyed bipartisan support, such as HR 8, legislation passed by the House in 2019 that would expand federal background checks on gun purchases. But, like many other proposed laws, the legislation was stifled in the Senate.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the problem was diagnosed in the heart of the Senate’s dead end street emotional phrases Tuesday, “I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask you of all senators who refuse to do anything about violence, school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you: Will you put your desire for power before the lives of our children, our elders. “Our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like.”
Kerr, the longtime defender or gunman, hit the nail directly on the head. The reason why arms reform is not being implemented is because of politics.
Opponents of arms control have strong political influence. Organizations such as the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Gun Rights Association, and others have large and loyal membership bases as well as war funds. They have invested heavily in a political system that has relied on Republicans over the past few years, as Democrats have spoken out more about their support for gun control policies.
Republican leaders know on which side the bread is buttered. Add to this an era of constituency-forming constituencies and highly polarized state voters, and it’s no secret that Republican lawmakers remain strictly against purposeful reform: they simply hope to win re-election.
There are certainly Democrats who pursue the same incentives for money and power as well. But even Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a strong supporter of gun rights, also supported efforts to expand security controls. In general, Democrats are more supportive of this type of legislation. Failure to pass gun control has increasingly become a Republican issue.
The reason Washington is still being pressured to act is not politics, it is the endless and senseless killings that are still taking place by armed people. In 2015, during an interview with comedian Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, former President Barack Obama set out the facts.
“Unfortunately, the NRA’s grip on Congress is very strong,” he said. “The question is just: Is there a way to accommodate that legal set of traditions with some common sense that will prevent a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something or who is racist or restless from to go into a gun. shop.”
In the wake of this latest tragedy, Senator Cruz was right about one thing: Politics must stop. It is time to move forward with gun control legislation and refuse to allow political interests that stand in the way of protecting our citizens – including our children.