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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

GOP’s Weak Response to Mass Shootings Shows Which Party Is Really ‘Soft on Crime’

From “Republicans don’t really care about crime — and the Nashville shooting proves it” by Charles F. Coleman, Jr. at MSNBC Opinion:

Just 6 months ago, high-profile midterm election races pushed the conversation about America’s crime problem into the national spotlight stage. GOP challengers were parroting talking points around a sensationalized narrative that painted Democrats as anti-police and ultimately responsible for rising crime rates. This, despite the fact that many of the areas where violent crime is highest across the United States are in red states and, more specifically, GOP-led districts. But there was another missing piece in the conversation: mass shootings….Republicans are very protective of their guns — more than they are of the children and educators forced to leave in fear of these weapons.

….Finally, of course, is how easy it is to access weapons in this country and, specifically, how easy it is to access and abuse assault weapons. GOP House members proudly wore AR-15 lapel pins to espouse their commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights during the State of the Union. Do they remain proud today? Probably. Worse, some conservatives have already gone on the offense, stoking fear and attempting to score political points by characterizing President Joe Biden and others who advocate for sensible gun legislation as “gun grabbers.”  This despite a majority of American voters being in favor of some type of assault weapons ban.

Coleman, a former New York prosecutor, notes further, “The bravado and self-righteous rage is designed to deflect the conversation away from real solutions. American lawmakers appear incapable of loosening the chokehold that the gun lobby maintains on the GOP, preferring to pacify loyalists and gun nuts.” Further,

We have known ever since Sandy Hook that the double-speak around school shootings in America is engagingly duplicitous. No amount of bloodshed appears capable of moving the needle — at least in the Republican Party, which now controls the House and almost half of the Senate (to say nothing of the legislative bodies in states like Tennessee). These men and women refuse to take meaningful steps to protect our youth.

And importantly, we now understand even more clearly that the feigned concern about crime that overtook the nation’s airwaves in the summer of 2022 was just a passing moment for the right. Crime stats are only worth mobilizing around when they fit a specific narrative, namely that Democrats are soft on criminals.

Because mass murder against children is an inevitable cost of doing business….Because Republicans don’t really care about crime, or about keeping our kids safe.

Coleman concludes, “And that’s why this keeps happening.”

In 2022 Congress did pass the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which expands background checks for individuals under the age of 21 purchasing firearms and prevents individuals who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony in dating relationships from purchasing firearms for five years. But a large majority of  Republicans opposed this ‘bipartisan’ legislation. Meanwhile President Biden has taken some bold initiatives on his own, including a March 14th executive order increasing background checks and expanding  “red flag” laws.

President Biden and other Democrats have proposed legislation “banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, closing the dating violence restraining order loophole, and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.” Thus far Republicans have blocked all such proposals.

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