As the country tries to cope with the horrific mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, all eyes have been on US leadership to see if anything can or will finally be done about not just the incredible increase in white nationalist terrorism since the election of Donald Trump, but about the scourge of gun violence in general.
While details are still not been completely filled in on today’s tragedy, we know that the perpetrator is a Trump-supporting white nationalist named Patrick Crusius, who killed 20 people, including a 4-month-old baby, and injured more than 40. The manifesto he uploaded this morning to fringe website 8Chan contained many details that matched the timeline of the Wal-Mart portion of today’s violence, and spoke of a “Hispanic Invasion,” much like you might hear at any random Trump rally.
His weapon of choice? A semiautomatic rifle, of course, in the style of an AK-47. Such a gun is legal to open carry without a permit in both Texas and in Wal-Mart specifically, though businesses are allowed to ban open carry even in states where it is legal.
Filling the vacuum of leadership in Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement this afternoon that offered condolences to the families and victims of today’s attack. But it also tore into Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refuses to allow gun safety bills to even come to a vote in the Senate.
Here’s Pelosi’s statement:
“Today’s horrific mass shooting in El Paso breaks the hearts of all Americans. Our prayers are with the friends and families of the victims and the entire El Paso community which has been devastated by this brutal act of terror and murder. We are grateful for the courage and heroism of our brave first responders who kept people safe and cared for those in need, and whose swift action brought the suspects into custody and prevented further harm.”
“Too many families in too many communities have been forced to endure the daily horror of gun violence. Enough is enough. The Republican Senate’s continued inaction dishonors our solemn duty to protect innocent men, women and children and end this epidemic once and for all.
“We will continue to insist on commonsense steps to keep our families and our communities safe. May it be a comfort to those grieving the loss of their loved ones that so many Americans mourn with and pray for them at this difficult time.”
Earlier this year, the House passed HR 1112, Enhanced Background Checks, sponsored by South Carolina Democrat Jim Clyburn. Clyburn’s bill has never made it to the table in the Senate, as McConnell embraced his role as the “Grim Reaper” with the sole purpose of blocking legislation that benefits all Americans.
In fact, McConnell has single-handedly blocked hundreds of bills passed by the House in this legislative session without so much as allowing debate in the Senate.
We need to do something and do it now. Unfortunately, until we get rid of McConnell and the obstructionist Republicans.