Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is like pretty much any other politician out there. He has people who like him and people who wouldn’t extinguish him if he were engulfed in fire. That’s par for the course for any politician.
This is especially true when they say something that is absolutely true, but the other side of the debate refuses to accept that reality. That’s precisely what’s happening with McConnell right now.
Sen. Mitch McConnell told community leaders back in his home state that Congress is really powerless to stop the scourge of gun violence in America, the Lexington Herald Leader reports. McConnell is, of course, the Senate Majority Leader, putting him in a unique position to actually do something to address the problem that has touched every part of American life from this week’s newsroom shooting in Annapolis to school shooting after school shooting to the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise during softball practice last June.
But, alas, no. There’s nothing that can be done. “I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds,” McConnell said Tuesday, pointing out that Congress had appropriated money to ramp up security at schools. “You would think, given how much it takes to get on an American plane or given how much it takes to get into courthouses, that this might be something that we could achieve, but I don’t think we could do that from Washington, I think it’s basically a local decision.”
McConnell added, “It’s a darn shame that’s where we are but this epidemic is something that’s got all of our attention.”
For example, let’s examine the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise. He was shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter who had a history of domestic violence that he hadn’t been convicted for. If he had, he wouldn’t have been able to purchase a firearm. As it stood, though, he was able to buy an SKS rifle that would be exempt from any assault weapon ban or other legislation currently being discussed.
The Capital Gazette shooting involved a pump-action shotgun. These firearms are as unregulated as any firearm out there, but pretty much no serious proposal being discussed deals with these weapons either. The same with the Santa Fe High School shooting, where the weapon was a pump-action shotgun, a Remington 870.
McConnell said something that anti-gunners don’t want to hear, that the problem isn’t with guns but with people and how we deal with them. All of these cases involved guns that the anti-gun zealots aren’t talking about. Parkland stands alone in this recent swath of shootings as having had an AR-15 being used.
The truth is, though, McConnell and the rest of Congress can’t regulate away things like shotguns. The Heller decision makes it clear that the government can’t ban common-use firearms. While we can debate whether AR-15s fall into that category, only a complete and total moron would argue shotguns don’t.
So yeah, he and Congress really can’t do anything.
And since it seems that most of these shooters have a history of unprosecuted domestic violence–a crime that would keep them from buying guns, I might add–he’s also correct that it’s a “local decision.” After all, Congress can’t make prosecutors press charges, now can they?