It’s an unfortunate truth that mass shootings are a part of life. They shouldn’t be, but they are.
Every time such a thing happens, it leaves a scar. Not just on the lives of those affected, but also on the political landscape as politicians feel obligated to respond.
Patch.com decided to publish a story from the Associated Press that purports to look at these divergent responses.
Tennessee’s Republican-led Legislature is meeting in special session this week to consider a package of public safety proposals, including some stemming from a deadly shooting at a Nashville elementary school earlier this year.
Though the session is not expected to result in any new firearms restrictions, it nonetheless highlights the widely divergent response among states to a spate of mass shootings across the U.S.
More than half the states have enacted substantive new laws this year regarding gun policies or school safety measures — most often tightening firearm restrictions in Democratic-led states and loosening them in Republican-led ones. Some states also have pumped money into efforts to secure schools or to train teachers and staff how to respond in shootings.
OK, so far, no big deal.
But where things go astray is when they get down to actual policy.
First, what the Democrats passed.
The number of states enacting firearms legislation has climbed steadily this year. The most recent action occurred in Delaware, where Democratic Gov. John Carney signed legislation Friday expanding restrictions on guns at election polling places and school property.
Less than a week earlier, fellow Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law making Illinois the eighth state to roll back legal protections for firearms manufacturers and distributors. The new law bans firearms advertising that officials determine produces a public safety threat or appeals to children, militants or others who might later use the weapons illegally.
Now, these are gun control measures passed by Democrats, but where we have an issue is why these measures were passed.
After all, you can claim the number of states enacting gun control has climbed, but these weren’t exactly pro-gun states in the first place and none of them are in response to a mass shooting.
Carney’s proposal may claim to be about mass shootings, but it’s far more likely that it’s in response to the Bruen decision or simply because Carney wants to satisfy the gun control groups in his state.
Pritzker didn’t sign the new law there because of some mass shooting, either, though I’m sure some will claim it was in response to Highland Park. It’s not. They did this because California did something similar and they thought it was a heck of an idea.
But let’s not get too excited. Their view of Republican-led states isn’t any better.
By contrast, some states have strengthened gun rights. One of the most recent laws got signed just weeks ago by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, of Alaska.
The new Alaska law bars state and local officials from restricting the sale or possession of guns and ammunition during disasters — a response to mandatory business closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The law will mean gun stores can’t be closed in emergencies unless all commerce is shut down. The National Rifle Association described it as “the first major pro-Second Amendment legislation” passed in Alaska in a decade.
Several Republican-led states also made it easier for people to carry concealed handguns. A Florida law allowing concealed guns without needing a permit took effect July 1. North Dakota expanded a similar law Aug. 1. And Nebraska will become the 26th state with such a law on Sept. 10.
Again, none of this was in response to a mass shooting.
They do mention Texas passing a measure that requires armed security in every school and a panic button in classrooms, which is a response to Uvalde, but so far that looks like the only measure actually passed because of a mass shooting in an entire piece purporting to look at the differences between red and blue states.
It’s literally the only measure they directly link to a mass shooting.
And what’s worse is that Michigan just passed a bunch while citing Michigan State. They could have at least included that but didn’t.
Instead, what the writer seems to be doing here is crafting a narrative that every pro-gun law passed is flying in the face of mass shootings while gun control passed is meant to curb them. However, that’s a supposition that’s not remotely supported in this piece.
Honestly, I’d have been ashamed to put my name to such a horrifically researched and written piece, but that’s just me.