While the Senate negotiations on a legislative response to the recent mass murders in Buffalo and Uvalde continue, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy told CNN on Thursday morning that an attempt to ban adults under the age of 21 from purchasing modern sporting rifles is now “off the table” as the two sides work to find something they can present to their colleagues that might win approval from 10 Republican senators.
Murphy, the Democrat leading the negotiations in conjunction with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, framed the shift as one of the compromises that will be needed to get at least 10 Republican votes, given the obstacle of the filibuster.
The compromise, Murphy explained, would be adding “additional scrutiny” to 18- to 21-year-olds looking to buy a weapon like the AR-15, though he stopped short of specifying that some sort of waiting period would replace raising the age.
“I think we continue to try to find a path to 60 votes that includes some provision that recognizes these 18- to 21-year-olds tend to be the mass shooters, and that many times, they have juvenile criminal records or past histories of mental health that should prohibit them from buying a weapon,” Murphy said, adding he thinks there is some Republican support for raising the age, but not enough to meet the 60-vote threshold to clear the filibuster.
Here’s the thing: Murphy is just flat out wrong about adults under 21 being most likely to commit these types of attacks, as the FBI’s recent report on active shooter incidents in 2021 clearly demonstrates.
Just 16 of the 61 incidents documented by the FBI involved a killer under the age of 24, much less 21. I took a deeper look into the FBI report and found that only five of the 61 incidents last year involved suspects under the age of 21; less than 10% of the overall number of these heinous crimes. And of the five incidents, two involved the use of a rifle, while three involved handguns.
It seems to me that these senators, including Murphy, are looking more at the killers in Buffalo and Uvalde, who were both 18-years of age at the time of their mass murders, than examining the actual statistics, which completely undercut the argument of targeting specific firearms or a particular age.
Meanwhile, you’d think that corporations would have gotten the message that customers want them to focus on their products and services instead of wading into the culture wars by now, but that’s not stopping the heads of hundreds of business from calling on Congress to pass new gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
Many of the names on the list of signatories of an open letter to the U.S. Senate, however, are familiar names for Second Amendment advocates, because they’ve been issuing their corporate calls for gun control for several years.
The letter is signed by some of the nation’s largest companies including Bloomberg LP, The Permanente Medical Group, Levi Strauss, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lyft and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bloomberg obviously has been in favor of all kinds of new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms for years, and it’s hard to expect anything less from the company run by the gun control lobby’s biggest sugar daddy. Levi Strauss and Dick’s have also been longtime corporate supporters of gun control measures, while Lyft has imposed its own driver disarmament policy that leaves contractors unable to defend themselves from armed robbers or carjackers without their ability to drive for the company being terminated. If they don’t even want their own contractors to be able to protect themselves in their own vehicles, you can imagine the contempt the company has for the right of average citizens to be able to keep and bear arms in self-defense.
The letter was apparently put together by Levi Strauss and Bloomberg’s pet gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, and Axios, who was first to report on the missive says that the document is void of any support for specific pieces of gun control legislation under debate, opting instead of boilerplate language urging the Senate to “take urgent action to pass bold gun safety legislation as soon as possible in order to avoid more death and injury.”
In a fascinating twist, while the CEOs of three professional sports teams (the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles) signed on to the letter, no one from the Tampa Bay Rays organization lent their name to the anti-gun effort, even though the baseball team recently used its social media platforms to advocate for unnamed gun control laws and to back Everytown for Gun Safety’s gun control mission. The Rays absence from the letter might have something to do with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ even more recent veto of a bill that would have spent more than $30-million in state funds on a training facility that would be mostly used by the team, though the governor didn’t directly tie in the veto to Rays’ gun control messaging.
I doubt that the negotiations in the Senate are going to produce anything that these anti-gun CEOs would truly consider “bold”, and I’m glad to hear Murphy say that a gun ban for adults under the age of 21 is apparently no longer a part of the discussions. Still, based on Murphy’s comments it seems the Senate negotiations are still aiming in the wrong direction by focusing on young adults and modern sporting rifles in spite of what the data actually tells us.