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Democrats Say GOP Will Block Any New Gun Controls In Congress

After the latest school massacre, House Democrats are pushing once again for tougher checks on firearms and new limits on who can own them. Even some of Capitol Hill’s most ardent gun reformers say they don’t expect last month's shootings at a Nashville elementary school, where a lone suspect shot and killed three adults and three children, to spur Congress to pass any new gun constraints, given the near-unanimous opposition from Republicans in both chambers. The groundwork for inaction was laid by the 2012 gruesome shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a lone gunman killed 26 people, including 20 schoolchildren. If that wasn’t enough to spur GOP action, critics say, then neither is Nashville. 

“I’m the least cynical person in this building. But you know, Sandy Hook happened 20 miles from my house, and I thought: this changes everything. And of course, it changed very little,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) “I’m just devastated that these things are just going to keep happening.” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), another longtime gun reform proponent, sounded similarly fatalistic, saying Democrats can promote tougher gun laws through “acts of defiance and messaging.” In the end, Republicans will sink any reform effort, he said. The tone of resignation has grown familiar in the halls of Congress as the horrors of epidemic mass shootings have repeatedly met the political realities of Capitol Hill, where Republicans are virtually united against any new restrictions on the sale and ownership of firearms. The GOP opposition runs counter to the sentiments of voters — even Republicans — who overwhelmingly favor tailored reforms like an expansion of background checks to screen out potentially violent people, according to numerous public opinion polls.  


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