The former Democratic presidential nominee appeared on the MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if the Senate had done enough to prevent school shootings.
“Of course not. But it’s like every other issue,” Sanders said, “the American people are united overwhelmingly — gun owners, non-gun owners — on common sense gun safety legislation. Expand background checks, do away with the gun show loophole.”
“It is unspeakable,” he added. “It really is, to see that kids all over this country who go to a place where they should feel safe where they can focus on learning are now worried about the things we saw in Texas or Florida a few months ago. It’s unspeakable.”
Sanders, who has a mixed record on guns, didn’t hesitate from blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) for obstructing a legislation that would have prevented these deadly weapons to end up in young hands.
“The NRA, frankly, which once was believe it or not a gun safety organization, teaching kids how to use guns safely, has moved to become part of, to become, a right-wing political organization far beyond guns, as a matter of fact,” said the senator.
At the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton traded blows over gun control during a debate. The former secretary of state attacked him for being too moderate on the issue as he had voted multiple times against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in the early 1990s, which aimed to tighten background checking system for gun owners.
However, after a deadly mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where the gunman killed his mother and went on a shooting rampage, murdering 20 first-graders and 6 educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sanders’ stance on the matter of background checks shifted. Since then, he has called for numerous changes in the gun laws.
Moreover, there were other politicians along with Sanders who didn’t just send out thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of the latest school massacre, in which at least 10 people were killed and many other injured–they asked for more action on gun control.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said, “The problem is not guns. It’s hearts without God” at an NRA convention a couple of weeks ago, altered his tone and said the community and state must “do more than pray for victims and their families”.
On the other hand, the Democratic lawmakers didn’t try to tone down their rebuke against the authorities for their inadequate policies.
“History will not look kindly on upon those elected officials who failed to act in the face of repeated mass murders of our children. Spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job,” said Mike Rawlings, the Democratic Mayor of Dallas.
Ranking House Democrat Nancy Pelosi used the students’ initiated hashtag #NeverAgain in her tweet where she asked Congress to take necessary measures.
I am closely following reports out of Texas in the wake of today’s awful shooting. My heart is with the students & all who are waiting to hear from loved ones. Deeply thankful for our heroic first responders. Congress has a duty to take action to save lives. #neveragain— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 18, 2018
In addition, President Donald Trump also expressed his condolences for the victims and their families. Only this time, he contradicted his own speech that he gave at the National Rifle Association’s convention just two weeks ago.
At the convention, Trump said he would protect gun owners who were “under siege” by gun control activists.
It seems the commander-in-chief’s repeated assurances of addressing the gun epidemic on urgent basis takes a backseat in face of his support for the pro-gun lobby, the NRA.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted at the POTUS, citing several tragic school shootings and asking him in a forceful manner to “DO SOMETHING.”
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Mark Makela