The Democratic House passed a background check bill in February that would have closed the gun show loophole the Odessa mass shooter exploited. But Mitch McConnell has refused to hold a vote in the Senate.
The mass shooter in Odessa, Texas, used the "gun show loophole" to acquire the assault rifle he used to murder seven people and wound 23 on Monday.
The shooter was considered a "prohibited person," banned from purchasing a gun through traditional channels because he had been diagnosed as mentally ill. So he bought his weapon in a private sale.
In a private sale, there is no requirement for a background check like there would be at a gun store.
"Law enforcement sources tell me the shooter in the #OdessaShooting purchased that AR-style rifle in a PRIVATE SALE, evading a federal background check," ABC reporter Matt Gutman said on Tuesday.
Legislation addressing such sales, named the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, or H.R. 8, passed the House in February by a vote of 240-190. A total of 188 of the votes opposing the bill came from Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to allow the Senate to debate and vote on the bill, despite public polling showing overwhelming support — 97% — in favor of enhanced background checks.
"If it did become law, the bill would require private gun sales to go through the same background check already required whenever someone purchases a firearm from a gun store, pawn shop or retailer such as Walmart," NPR affiliate WAMU noted in an analysis of the bill in February.
The NRA has for years opposed such background checks despite their popularity.
In 2013 testimony before the Senate, NRA head Wayne LaPierre, after a series of evasive responses, eventually admitted "we do not" back closure of the gun show loophole.
Republican leaders like McConnell have executed the NRA's vision in the legislature by blocking bills even with so many mass shootings and their resulting public outcry.
The Odessa shooter benefitted from the situation created by the NRA and Republicans, exploiting it so that he could murder seven people.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.