UPDATED 8:28 AM PT – Tuesday, May 31, 2022
The Second Amendment is apparently up for debate in Washington, D.C. as lawmakers attempt to signal they are doing something about gun violence. On several corporate news outlets, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle put in their two cents on how to make sure another mass shooting like the one in Uvalde, Texas doesn’t happen again.
While appearing on CNN, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said he would support a number of gun control measures, including banning bump stocks, AR-15’s and raising the minimum age to buy guns. He said his philosophy on gun control evolved after seeing mass shootings in Las Vegas, Parkland High School in Florida and Buffalo, New York.
Kinzinger went on to flip-flop on whether he supports a full ban of so called assault weapons, while emphasizing his preferred measures as added qualifications.
“You know, fairly recently, I think I’m open to a ban now,” he stated. “It’s going to depend on what it looks like because there’s a lot of nuances on what constitutes certain things, but I’m getting to the point where I have to wonder maybe for somebody to own one maybe you need an extra license, maybe you need extra training. So the question is: is it a ban or additional certification?”
Meanwhile, Senate Democrat Whip and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin believes “different feeling” among his colleagues on gun reform. Durbin has claimed red flag laws could be adopted as well as a crackdown so-called “straw purchases,” where people with clean criminal records buy guns then give them to criminals. He also claimed bans on so-called assault weapons work and said the number of Americans who have AR-15s is alarming.
“Well, when we had one, there was a reduction in crime, in mass shooting with these weapons,” he noted. “That expired years ago and unfortunately in the meantime, there’s been dramatic increase in purchases of these weapons. The AR-15 that was used by this individual in Uvalde, there are now 20 million of those owned by American across the nation to put it in perspective.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) went so far as to say mass shootings in school will dissipate when Americans love their kids more than they love their guns.
“Until the redemptive power of the love for all of our children is greater than the destructive power of the love of our guns and money and power…until that until the redemptive love of our children turns into action, then nothing is going to change,” he stated.
However, retired Navy SEAL, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said many of the proposals in Washington, D.C. won’t work. He claimed establishing red flag laws attempts to enforce the law before it’s broken and questions the standards that would make a gun purchaser a “threat.” Crenshaw also challenged raising the minimum age to buy a gun by warning lawmakers will just keep raising the age limit after each mass shooting. Instead, he urged lawmakers to focus on bolstering background checks and school safety.
“A lot of these policies that the Democrats often propose, these gin control policies, they do two things,” said Crenshaw. “One, they infringe of the rights of millions and millions of gun owners. And two, they probably wouldn’t have the outcome that you’re hoping for. So if you’re not going to get the benefit that you want, but it’s going to come at great costs, it generally means it’s not a good policy.”
Additionally, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) urged lawmakers to look at reducing gun violence commonsensically. The Republican, who led an NRA task force, said banning specific weapons like AR-15s is tricky because lawmakers would have to distinguish problematic properties that could be found in other long guns or pistols. He added, AR-15s have been around long before they were used in mass shootings and believes lawmakers should be looking into the people behind these shootings.
“I want to give a little bit more history; AR-15s were around for 40 years before they were ever used in any type of mass killing or attack,” explained Hutchinson. “And so, it is about the human heart. It is about identifying the culprits and going after them and I think it is a discussion you can have.”
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley echoed this point while stressing landmark precedent, including District of Columbia v. Heller, cemented Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. Turley pointed out that Democrats push gun control legislation that fails in the courts and ends up strengthening Second Amendment protections.