Despite the frequent cases of mass shootings in the United States, the likelihood that Congress will go to tighten gun legislation is extremely small.
This opinion was shared with Izvestia by experts after the head of the White House, Joe Biden, again called on the American parliament to adopt a bill banning the sale of assault weapons, which did not pass in 2022. The president was prompted to return to the discussion of this topic by the case at a Christian school in Nashville, where seven people were killed, including the shooter. However, although the bill proposed by Biden is unlikely to pass, Democrats will be able to use weapons-related topics during the 2024 election campaign.
A new tragedy
Relatively loyal gun legislation and, accordingly, easier ways to purchase firearms have caused many tragedies that have occurred in the United States, especially in recent years. So, another mass shooting occurred at the Covenant private Christian school in Nashville (Tennessee) on March 27. As a result, three adults were killed, including the director of an educational institution, as well as three nine-year-old students. The one who opened fire was shot by the police.
Initially, law enforcement agencies said that a teenage girl armed with two assault rifles and a pistol fired. However, then it turned out that 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale opened fire. According to Nashville Police Chief John Drake, the two types of firearms that Hale used were purchased legally.
The incident in Tennessee was the 129th case of mass shooting in the United States recorded this year, and the 37th in March, according to Gun Violence Archive data. For comparison, in 2022, 109 mass murders were registered by this date. In total, 59 children under the age of 11 have died from gunshot wounds since the beginning of the year, and 129 have been injured.
The tragedy in Nashville prompted the United States authorities to think again about legislative reform. The head of the White House, Joe Biden, ordered the national flags to be lowered until “sunset on March 31” and called for consideration of a bill banning the sale of assault weapons.
“It is reported that the shooter had two assault weapons and a pistol — two AK-47 (Kalashnikov assault rifles). Therefore, I again urge Congress to adopt my ban on assault weapons,” the US president said.
The project, which was recalled by the President of the United States, has been gathering dust on the shelf of American legislators for a long time. Back in July last year, the proposal was approved by a simple majority in the House of Representatives, which at that time was under the control of the Democratic Party. However, the senators did not pass the bill until the end of the session of the 117th Congress. Now the bill must again pass through the lower house of the US parliament.
But with the current composition of the Congress, the adoption of a bill on assault weapons is unlikely, according to the program coordinator of the Russian Council on International Affairs (INF) Konstantin Sukhoverkhov.
— With each such incident, the issue of tightening the legislation in the field of handling firearms, the introduction of new rules for restriction and control is raised. Congress has been repeatedly called on [to adopt the draft] in previous times, but now it is unlikely, because Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and, accordingly, they can simply not pass this bill,” he explained.
According to Alexander Domrin, Doctor of Law, Republicans will not go to limit the constitutional norm, namely the Second Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to keep and carry firearms. In addition, the lobbying companies that produce it have much more supporters among conservatives.
— So there is no chance [that the bill will pass]. In addition, the Republicans are very right to look at the problem, saying that people are being killed, not weapons,” the Americanist added.