GOP lawmakers who oppose background checks now very concerned about shootings

1361

Republicans continue to block efforts in Congress to pass gun control legislation.

House Republicans, nearly all of whom voted against legislation to require a background check prior to all gun purchases, are now blaming President Joe Biden and other Democratic officials for a rise in the number of shootings and homicides.

In a series of tweets from their official caucus Twitter account on Tuesday, Republicans in the House noted a recent Fox News story about an increase in the number of shootings in major cities in 2021 so far compared to the first half of last year. "Welcome to Joe Biden's America," they tweeted, and paraphrased Fox contributor Joe Concha: "The common thread these are all cities run by Democrat Mayors."

Several members of the caucus shared the tweets or offered their own similar assessments.

"From Los Angeles to New York, crime is soaring in cities managed by Democrats. They've defunded police, but they're not finished yet—they're trying to eliminate law enforcement altogether," argued Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. "The socialist democrats have shown they not believe in the rule of law."

"Numbers don't lie this is President Biden's crime crisis," Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik claimed.

"Everywhere police departments have been defunded & downsized, violent crime has skyrocketed. Yet, Democrats are still ignoring this crisis," charged Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee. "This is the America President Biden & Democrats have created."

"Still think it's just hysteria, @RepAOC?" asked Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama, tagging New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last month urged colleagues to consider the context before making decisions about violent crime.

"While millions of Americans celebrated #July4th , over 150 people died from shootings. In Chicago alone, 92 people were shot over the holiday weekend," tweeted Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL). "The numbers don't lie. This is the #BidenCrimeCrisis and it's traveling to a city near you."

"The #BidenCrimeCrisis was in full effect over the #4thofJuly weekend with 150 people shot dead," wrote Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter.

Experts have disputed the GOP's baseless suggestions that Democratic officials are to blame for the rising gun violence.

"2020 was just a crazy complicated year where lots of things happened, and there are lots of potential explanations for why we saw these big changes," University of Pennsylvania Law School professor David Abrams told the Associated Press last month. "It's complicated."

The wire service noted that Democratic-run cities such as Houston and Nashville that have increased their police budgets and Republican-run cities such as Tulsa and Fresno have seen spikes in rates of homicide.

The number of firearm purchases across the country has increased significantly since the coronavirus pandemic began — long before Biden was elected.

Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) suggested Monday that this too was Biden's fault: "June 2021 was the second-highest June on record for gun sales. That's what happens when you have a Democratic crime wave and a president who attacks the 2nd Amendment."

Efforts in Congress to enact laws aimed at curbing gun violence have attracted little support from Republicans.

In March, the House voted 227-203 to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require "a background check for every firearm sale" and would close a loophole in current law that allows private sales at gun shows without one. Though polls show the vast majority of Americans back universal background checks, 202 House Republicans voted against the bill, along with Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine. Just eight voted for it.

The bill was passed to the Senate on March 11 and now awaits action in the Senate, where it will likely face a GOP filibuster.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.