GOP senator blocks gun safety bill as another school shooting unfolds


Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) asked the Senate to consider a universal background check bill, but Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected.

Republicans in the Senate once again blocked consideration of gun safety legislation at almost the same moment Americans learned that at least 3 people were injured at a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California.

On Thursday morning, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) asked that the Senate immediately consider H.R. 8, a universal background check bill passed by a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in February.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected, saying that "legislation that would affect the rights of American citizens under the Second Amendment should not be fast-tracked by the Senate."

The bill passed the House 260 days ago.

Hyde-Smith's objection came at almost the same time the nation learned of yet another school shooting, this time happening at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita. According to preliminary reports, at least three people are injured.

Hyde-Smith's office declined to comment publicly on the matter.

"Devastating reports of yet another school shooting," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Thursday. "Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Senate Dems *today* asked that the Senate take up the bipartisan background checks bill that the House passed in February. Senate Rs objected."

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun safety advocacy organization, there have been at least 84 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019 prior to Thursday's shooting in California. Everytown tracks school shootings at K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities.

The House of Representatives passed not one, but two bills in February to deal with gun violence in America. But for months, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow those bills to come up for a vote in the Senate.

In those 260 days, there have been at least 319 mass shooting incidents, according to Vox.

After the nation witnessed twin mass shooting incidents over the summer in El Paso and Dayton, Trump vowed to take action. But following conversations with the NRA, Trump backed down and refused to work toward any solutions to reduce gun violence.

As recently as Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr blamed the House impeachment inquiry for Trump's lack of action on gun violence.

After experiencing a massacre at their Parkland high school, student survivors led a massive advocacy campaign to make gun safety one of the leading issues in the 2018 midterm elections. Americans from coast to coast elected gun safety advocates to Congress in 2018, leading to the House passing landmark gun safety legislation.

Even on the day of another school shooting, Republicans continue to block consideration of those bills.

Updated with response from Sen. Hyde-Smith's office.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.