House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler recently announced that he’s calling his committee back to Washington, D.C. on September 4, 2019 because, regarding gun violence, he said, “There is more that we can and must do to address the gun violence epidemic. We will not sit idly by.” The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled for what are called “markup hearings” over a bill called the “Keep Americans Safe Act,” which is intended to ban high-capacity magazines; the bill also includes two measures banning certain people from legally possessing firearms. Markup hearings are held so congressional committees and subcommittees can debate, amend, and rewrite any proposed legislation.
According to an article published online last year by the LA Times, Congress has not passed any major gun control legislation since 1994 when a Democratic-run Congress approved and then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.” At the time, that law was the most expansive anti-crime bill ever passed. One of its most controversial provisions, of which there were many, was a ban on the “possession, manufacture, use and importation” of 19 different types of semi-automatic firearms. The ban was provisional, lasting only ten years unless Congress authorized an extension, and that extension was never granted.
Results of a Recent Poll
A recent Republican poll shows that Suburban women in some swing House districts overwhelmingly want tighter gun laws, according to an article in The Denver Post online. Reports show that gun violence has passed up healthcare as the most important issue in the eyes of these women (the group polled included women classified as “Independents,” also).
The “Public Opinion Strategies” poll was commissioned by the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group founded in 1997 by former Representative Amory Houghton Jr. with the “intent of strengthening the governing wing of the Republican Party.” In this Republican poll, 1,000 women in these five congressional districts were surveyed: Colorado’s Sixth, Kansas’s Third, North Carolina’s Ninth, Pennsylvania’s First, and Virginia’s 10th.
Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, has experienced firsthand the horror of gun violence because it’s home to Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed by a shooter at a movie theater in 2012; it’s also close to Columbine High School, where two students shot and killed one teacher and 12 students in April 1999 in one of the most infamous school shootings in American history (and one of the earliest).
Results of this poll found that a majority of the women surveyed want Congress to pass several gun control measures. Also, in addition to the 90% who supported a universal background check bill, 76% of the women surveyed also indicated they wanted Congress to ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic weapons like AK-47s and AR-15s.
The poll also revealed the following: Only 35% of the women in the districts polled approve of the job President Trump is doing, while 61% “disapprove” with a majority of those stating they “strongly disapprove.” Of the women classified as “Independents,” only 32% approve of the job the President is doing and 63% disapprove.
Violence Continues; Plans Foiled
According to an article on Vox, it appears that even after the two recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Congress and President Trump are “showing few signs of taking action to pass even basic legislation to curb shootings, including a bipartisan universal background check bill that was the most popular measure among the women surveyed.” In addition to those two recent shootings, three other shooting plans were thwarted when police made arrests over the weekend of August 16-18. Police were alerted to shooting plans in Ohio, Florida, and Connecticut, and one man in each state was arrested with charges pending in all three alleged shooting plans.
However, since stating that he supported stronger background checks, President Trump spoke with NRA president Wayne LaPierre and has backed away from support of increased background checks.