The week everyone was talking about guns
Hey OP-ers. Not going to lie, it’s been a rough week for America — a week where political and not-so-political news centered on deaths from gun violence in the United States that happened over the weekend. It’s Lindsay Deutsch filling in for your usual guide to Washington, Josh Hafner. Here’s what’s up.
Last Saturday, 22 people were shot to death while shopping at Walmart in El Paso, Texas. On Sunday, a gunman opened fire in the bar district in Dayton, Ohio, killing at least 9 people. Seven people were killed in a mass shooting in Chicago over the weekend, too. Rough week, rough year: 251 mass shootings in 216 days in the U.S.
And at USA TODAY, we were reminded of the statistically growing threat of gun violence on Wednesday when our headquarters in McLean, Va., evacuated due to a report of someone with a weapon. It turned out to be a false report.
As we said, not a good week.
By now, we know the drill: Shootings happen, and politicians talk. Here are the reactions (and actions) you need to know coming out of a gun-focused week in Washington and beyond:
President Trump visits victims
- Trump visited grief-stricken El Paso and Dayton Wednesday, received with both support and a hearty amount of protests.
- Beto O’Rourke asked Trump to stay home. Shockingly (or not), Trump and the former Texas congressman sparred on Twitter, with Beto first tweeting, “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism. El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I.” A back-and-forth ensued.
- Dayton had similar drama with the President after Trump said on Twitter that Ohio lawmakers misrepresented the reaction to his visit in Dayton. Mayor Nan Whaley’s response? “Oh well.”
Background checks and red flags
- Two gun control measures were approved this year by the U.S. House of Representatives that would tighten background checks on gun purchasers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t allow senators to vote on it, something for which he’s now facing major backlash.
- Americans want to see that change. A USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll taken Monday and Tuesday showed partisan differences for sure, but those polled from both parties agree that steps need to be made by Congress.
- The President suggested enacting red flag laws as a possible control on gun ownership. Red flag laws, which already exist in 17 states, allow concerned parties to petition a judge to confiscate guns from people they think may cause harm to themselves or others.
- What’s next? We’ll have to see on Sept. 9. More than 225 mayors have asked for McConnell to call the Senate back to vote on the laws that would bolster background checks. Meanwhile, McConnell says he is waiting to hear back from committees tasked with examining more ways to prevent mass murders.
And that’s that, for now. Keep checking back at USA TODAY Politics for more updates on the aftermath of El Paso and Dayton, especially how it may affect our laws and policies.
Have a good weekend, y’all. Hug your humans.