WASHINGTON, D.C., June 7 – In Washington on Tuesday, lawmakers, shooting victims, and fighters for more substantial gun restrictions, including famed actor, Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, spoke out in favor of legislation to minimize mass shootings amid hints of progress on an issue that has stalled Congress for years.
The current talks between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate have given them hope. As Congress contemplates federal gun legislation after more than a decade of paralysis on the topic, the White House said President Joe Biden just wanted to see some form of legislation passed, even if a deal could not be made on his proposal to ban assault guns.
The new effort to combat firearm violence follows a succession of mass shootings throughout the country, including one on May 24 at a school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were slain.
McConaughey, a Uvalde native, met Biden at the White House and made an emotional call for change from the White House stage. He was introduced as a “gun owner” by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
We need to save lives. “…Make the loss of these lives important,” McConaughey said, holding up photos of some of the children who had died and displaying the green sneakers that had helped identify the body of a 10-year-old girl.
“While we commemorate and acknowledge the victims, we must understand that something appears to be different this time,” he stated. “In this debate, responsible parties appear to be at least committed to sitting down and having a serious conversation about a new and better road forward.”
Garnell Whitfield, whose mother Ruth was killed in the Tops Friendly Markets attack that killed ten Black people, warned senators to step aside if they couldn’t act.
“We’re in a lot of pain. We’re enraged. We’re completely enraged, “he stated at a Capitol Hill press conference. “My mother’s life was significant. Your actions today will reveal how important it is to you.”
In a speech from the White House last week, Biden called on Congress to ban assault weapons, enhance background checks, and approve other gun control measures, saying, “Enough, enough!”
However, such measures do not have widespread support in the Senate, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats prefer more robust gun death controls, while Republicans favor a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment’s protection of the freedom to keep and bear arms.
Senator Chris Murphy has initiated negotiations with his colleagues, met with Biden at the White House on Tuesday.
“In the council, we still have work to do. I’m grateful that the White House allows us the time and space we need to reach an agreement, “After speaking with Biden, Murphy told reporters. He stated that he hoped to get a deal this week.
Senators are contemplating modest measures such as urging states to adopt “red flag” legislation prohibiting those considered a threat to public safety or themselves from possessing firearms and improving school security and mental health services.
Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, herself a victim of gun violence, remarked during the opening of an interim memorial for victims of gun violence on the National Mall, “Stopping gun violence takes courage.”
“It’s now or never to come together. Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, must take responsibility. Fighting must never end — fight, fight, fight! Be brave, be bold, and don’t be afraid to take risks, “she stated