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Mayors Urge Senate to Pass Gun Safety Legislation; Outlook Dim

Nearly 70 mayors from cities that have experienced a mass shooting asked Senate leaders on Monday to pass gun safety legislation. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 and the Background Check Expansion Act have already passed the House. In a letter, the mayors urge the Senate to help prevent other cities from experiencing the gun violence that have affected their cities. They said, “As mayors of cities that have had mass shootings this year ... We can tell you firsthand of the devastating impact these shootings have had on our residents and on our cities. While we will never recover from them completely, we must try to prevent them from happening in other cities in the future.” Despite calls by President Biden and others for postelection action on gun control while Democrats still hold Congress, lawmakers see little chance that there will be another serious gun debate this year after mass killings in Colorado and Virginia, the New York Times reports.


With the lame-duck agenda already overflowing and Republicans resistant to reopening the issue after a surprise bipartisan success on gun safety last summer, proponents of tougher restrictions on assault weapons, universal background checks, and other measures say the window for more legislation is likely closed. “It is a very crowded calendar,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the chief architects of the gun deal earlier this year. “I would obviously support taking time to talk about gun violence, but we have a lot of competing priorities.” Congress still needs to come to terms on funding the government into next year, considering the annual Pentagon policy bill, and trying to overhaul the Electoral Count Act to address vulnerabilities exposed during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol. The inability to take up gun legislation again this year means any realistic chance to pass new gun restrictions will have to wait at least two years. The new Republican majority in the House will adamantly oppose an assault weapons ban or other measures seen as infringing on gun rights. Given the new partisan dynamic, gun safety will revert to being mainly political football as the two parties jockey for advantage heading into 2024. The letter comes after Biden said on Thanksgiving that he intended to renew his push for a ban on assault weapons following mass shootings at an L.G.B.T.Q. club in Colorado Springs and a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va.

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