Senate proposal to curb gun violence moves forward

Recent mass shootings in the U.S. are the impetus behind the latest calls for gun control legislation.

Americans rallied last week for stricter gun laws, with Iowans from around the state participating in rallies for March for Our Lives. In the wake of recent high-profile mass shootings, the group is pushing for a ban on assault weapons, making the gun lobby accountable, among other goals, according to its website.

The Gun Violence Archive has recorded 266 mass shootings in the U.S. just since January. The nonprofit defines mass shootings as incidents in which four people are shot, either injured or killed, not including the shooter. Last year was the worst year for mass shootings since the organization began tracking, with 692 mass shootings.

AR-15-style rifles were used in recent mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where 10 Blacks were killed, an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, and a medical facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where four people were killed. According to NPR, that style of weapon was also used in mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Pulse Nightclub in Florida and Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, among many others.

Iowa has had 18 mass shootings since 2014, according to the gun violence tracking organization.

Here are the number of mass shootings that occurred in the U.S. since 2014, according to the Gun Violence Archive:

2021 – 692

2020 – 610

2019 – 417

2018 – 336

2017 – 348

2016 – 382

2015 – 336

2014 – 272

The U.S. House recently passed gun reforms in the “Protecting Our Kids Act;” then on June 12, 10 U.S. senators announced a bipartisan response to the recent mass shootings, including proposals to improve background checks and school security, increase mental health resources and help ensure “dangerous criminals” and those who are “adjudicated as mentally ill” can’t purchase weapons, among other initiatives. The exact details have not been released, but President Joe Biden has voiced some support.

“Obviously, it does not do everything that I think is needed, but it reflects important steps in the right direction, and would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades,” Biden said in a statement on June 12. “With bipartisan support, there are no excuses for delay, and no reason why it should not quickly move through the Senate and the House. Each day that passes, more children are killed in this country: the sooner it comes to my desk, the sooner I can sign it, and the sooner we can use these measures to save lives.”

The NRA opposes the proposed legislation.

“NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections & efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves into this or any legislation,” the organization responded on its Twitter page.

Now, the Senate will begin drafting the legislation. Will it be enough?

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