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How GOP, Dem Candidate Rhetoric On Guns Diverged This Week

At Perry High School in Iowa last week, 17-year-old Dylan Butler shot and killed a sixth-grader, wounded five students and staff, and then killed himself. Neither Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley said a word in Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate about a school shooting that had happened just days earlier and barely 40 miles away. Deadly shootings, even in our schools, are an inevitable feature of our daily lives, says the Republican Party, writes Washington Post opinion columnist Eugene Robinson. DeSantis earlier said that while officials have a responsibility to guarantee safety at our schools, the federal government “is probably not going to be leading that effort.” He said he would sign a bill eliminating the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Haley said after the shooting that “we have to deal with the cancer that is mental health." Candidate Donald Trump said of the shooting, “It’s just horrible, so surprising to see it here. But we have to get over it, we have to move forward.”


On Thursday, Vice President Harris visited a middle school in Charlotte to join a roundtable discussion on gun violence with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. She announced the administration’s plan to invest a new round of funding ($285 million) for schools to find and train mental health professionals. Harris said, "We know the solutions: making background checks universal, passing red flag laws, and renewing the assault weapons ban." The measures the vice president advocates, backed almost universally by Democratic officials and candidates, have overwhelming public support, according to polls. They are rejected by Republicans, who avoid even talking about the one element that is common to all mass shootings: the gun, says Robinson. President Biden said this week about gun violence: "We have to stop it, so your children, your family, your friends can leave your home, walk the streets, go to stores, go to the grocery store, and go to church to be safe from gun violence. There’s no excuse for this carnage."

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