Biden says gun violence in America is ‘a blemish on our character as a nation’

President Joe Biden speaks as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 7, 2021 in Washington DC. President Biden delivered remarks on the administration’s “American Jobs Plan.”
President Joe Biden speaks as Vice President Kamala Harris listens during an event at the South Court Auditorium at Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 7, 2021 in Washington DC. President Biden delivered remarks on the administration’s “American Jobs Plan.”

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Biden unveiled 6 executive actions to curb gun violence, including model ‘red flag’ laws and action on ‘ghost guns’

Biden
President Joe Biden speaks about the Colorado shootings in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2021.

  • Biden announced a series of actions his administration is taking to address gun violence.
  • The actions include drafting model “red flag” laws and tackling “ghost guns.”
  • The announcement comes in the wake of recent mass shootings and homicide spikes in US cities.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday a series of actions his administration is taking to address gun violence in the US.

“The President is committed to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm,” the White House said in a statement.

The actions come on the heels of increased gun violence in many US cities and an uptick in mass shootings, including at a grocery store in Colorado where 10 people were killed and at Atlanta-area spas where eight people were killed.

“President Biden is reiterating his call for Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence,” the statement said. “But this Administration will not wait for Congress to act to take its own steps – fully within the Administration’s authority and the Second Amendment – to save lives.”

The actions, which do not have to go through Congress, include tackling “ghost guns,” drafting model “red flag” laws, and a firearms-trafficking report.

Read more: Marijuana prohibition is withering away, but the human carnage it caused is permanent. Governments should take action to atone for their Drug War sins.

“Ghost guns” are firearms that are built at home by buying individual parts or kits that contain the parts. They are fully functioning guns that do not have a serial number or other identifying information, making them difficult to trace when recovered after a crime.

Biden is giving the Justice Department 30 days to draft a proposed rule that would “help stop the proliferation of these firearms.”

The Justice Department also has 60 days to draft model “red flag” legislation for states. Red flag laws allow family members or friends to alert authorities and seek a court order against someone obtaining a gun if they believe them to be a danger to themselves or others. Biden is encouraging Congress to pass a federal red flag law but wants model legislation for states working to pass their own laws.

Another action includes directing the Justice Department to issue a “new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and annual updates” that lawmakers can use when addressing gun trafficking. According to the statement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms issued a firearms-trafficking report in 2000 that lawmakers still use today to draft policy.

The announcement also outlined multiple ways the administration plans to invest in “evidence-based community violence interventions,” including a $5 billion investment in Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

“Community violence interventions are proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities through tools other than incarceration,” the statement said.

The Justice Department will also devise a rule within 60 days that determines when a pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace is more like a rifle, and thus falls under the National Firearms Act. The statement says the suspected shooter at the grocery store in Colorado last month “appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.”

The White House also named David Chipman as Biden’s nomination for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Chipman worked in the bureau for decades and currently works as an adviser to a gun control advocacy group.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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Lindsey Graham parrots himself by again saying he’ll shoot ‘gangs’ with his AR-15 in the event of a ‘natural disaster’

Lindsey Graham shooting
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham uses images of handguns and rifles during a hearing about gun control on Capitol Hill January 30, 2013 in Washington, DC.

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News he’d use his AR-15 to keep himself safe during a natural disaster.
  • Graham made the statement while arguing against a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
  • He last made this claim in 2019, saying he would “defend himself” during “apocalyptic scenarios.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has once again claimed that he would use his AR-15 to shoot gangs in the event of a natural disaster or a state of apocalyptic lawlessness.

“I own an AR-15. If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to, because I can defend myself,” Graham said.

Graham added that he thought most of the problems with semi-automatic weapons and gun violence had to do not with easily obtainable firearms but with “mental health.”

The South Carolina lawmaker was responding to questions on Fox News about his stance on semi-automatic weapons and whether they should be banned.

This is not the first time that Graham has made this claim.

In 2019, Insider reported that Graham said aboard Air Force One that he owned a semiautomatic rifle in case “there’s a hurricane, a natural disaster, no power, no cops, no anything,” and that gangs and looters would know not “to come to the AR-15 home.”

During the interview, Graham also challenged majority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer to bring the assault weapons ban to the Senate floor, saying that it would not “get 50 votes, much less 60.”

Graham also told the Washington Examiner last week that he believed the Senate would vote against any limitations imposed on purchasing and owning assault weapons, saying: “I want a vote on an assault weapons ban. I own an AR-15. Now, why do I own it? Because I have the right to own it, and I choose to own it.”

Graham has been a long-time supporter of the Second Amendment. In 2013, for instance, he tweeted a photo of himself at a gun range in South Carolina using his AR-15.

A wave of mass shootings in the last two weeks has sparked renewed interest in the gun-control debate. Ten people – including a police officer – were killed in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22. Separately, a series of mass shootings at three spas in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16 ended in the deaths of eight people, including six Asian women.

President Joe Biden called on Congress last week to strengthen gun control, adding that he might take a stronger stand on assault weapons.

“As president, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe,” Biden said in a televised address on Mar 24.

“The United States Senate should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that would close loopholes in the background check system,” he said.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”

However, gun reform faces obstacles in the form of the Senate filibuster.

Two gun bills have already made it through the House, but they are unlikely to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.

However, Democrats and activists are pushing to eliminate the filibuster and make it possible to pass legislation at a simple 51-vote majority, particularly in light of these back-to-back mass shootings.

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A breakdown of gun terminology to help you in discussions on mass shootings and debates over gun control

AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

  • The language surrounding firearms can be tricky.
  • “Assault-weapons,” for example, is among the most divisive phrases in debates over gun control.
  • There’s been a renewed discussion over gun control following recent mass shootings.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Given the ongoing and divisive debate over gun control in the US, it’s helpful to understand the breakdown of some of the most important terms that frequently come up after mass shootings.

Some of these terms might appear inconsequential, but they relate strongly to discussions on what type of guns and firearm accessories should be regulated more strictly or even banned. And some in the pro-Second Amendment camp have been known to mock people calling for new gun laws when they use incorrect terminology in reference to firearms.

In the renewed discussion surrounding gun control following two high-profile mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, that occurred less than a week apart, familiar disagreements are arising over terminology surrounding firearms.

Here’s a summary of some of the more common and contentious terms linked to guns and the broader discourse surrounding them in the US.

Semi-automatic vs. automatic

Semi automatic
Customers view semi-automatic guns on display at a gun shop in Los Angeles, California, on December 19, 2012.

A semi-automatic firearm refers to a gun that fires a single round or bullet each time the trigger is squeezed or pulled, and then automatically reloads the chamber between shots. 

An automatic firearm is essentially what many Americans likely think of as a machine gun, or a firearm that continuously fires while the trigger is squeezed or pulled and reloads the chamber automatically.

The vast majority of firearms in the US are semi-automatic and include rifles and handguns. Semi-automatic firearms are available across the US with few restrictions. 

Automatic weapons are heavily regulated and expensive.

The manufacture and importation of new automatic firearms has been prohibited since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986. But this still allows for the purchase of automatic firearms made before a certain date in 1986, meaning automatics are technically legal in certain circumstances.

Magazine vs. clip

Magazine
A gun and a magazine is pictured in this evidence photo released by the Connecticut State Police on December 27, 2013.

“Magazine” and “clip” are often used interchangeably, though they aren’t the same thing. 

A magazine is a container that holds cartridges or rounds of ammunition and feeds them into the firing chamber of a gun. Some magazines are internal, while others are detachable. 

A clip holds multiple rounds of ammunition together, often on a metal strip, to be fed into a magazine. Most guns have magazines (revolvers and some types of shotguns do not have magazines), but not all firearms use clips. 

 

 

 

Assault-weapons

Assault weapons
Frank Loane, owner of Pasadena Pawn and Gun, stands in front of a wall of assault rifles at his store in Pasadena, Maryland, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013.

“Assault-weapons” is among the most contentious phrases in discussions on gun control.

There’s not a universal definition of what an assault weapon is, which is part of the reason this subject tends to antagonize the gun lobby or pro-gun advocates. 

But in 1994, after the now-expired assault-weapons ban passed, the Justice Department said, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.”

The gun industry often defines an assault rifle as a firearm with “select fire capabilities,” or the ability to adjust or switch the firearm between semi-automatic and automatic settings or modes.

In short, pro-Second Amendment groups typically say a firearm should only be called an assault-weapon when it’s capable of fully automatic fire — or they reject the terminology altogether. 

“None of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians are assault rifles as the term is used in military contexts,” Florida State University criminal justice professor emeritus Gary Kleck, told PolitiFact.

Kleck added, “Assault rifles used by members of the military can all fire full automatic, like machine guns, as well as one shot at a time, whereas none of the so-called ‘assault rifles’ legally owned by US civilians can fire full automatic.”

Based on the idiosyncrasies of this issue and the broader debate surrounding it, many gun control advocates tend to refer to semi-automatic firearms that have been used in mass shootings as “assault-style” or “military-style” weapons. 

Polling has consistently shown that the vast majority of Americans would support an assault-weapons ban. 

AR-15

AR 15
AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 2017.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle and has been referred to by the National Rifle Association as “America’s most popular rifle.” 

The “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for “assault rifle,” but is linked to the original manufacturer of the firearm: ArmaLite, Inc. The name stands for ArmaLite Rifle. 

The AR-15 was originally developed by ArmaLite to be a military rifle, designing it for fast reloading in combat situations, but the company hit financial troubles. By 1959, ArmaLite sold the design of the AR-15 to Colt, which had success in pitching it to the US military.

The rifle’s automatic version, the M-16, was used during the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Colt sold the semi-automatic version, the AR-15, to the public and police. 

“If you’re a hunter, camper, or collector, you’ll want the AR-15 Sporter,” a 1963 advertisement for the firearm said.

Colt’s patent on the rifle’s operating system expired in 1977, opening the door for other manufacturers to copy the technology and make their own models. 

The AR-15 was prohibited from 1994 to 2004 via the assault weapons ban. Gun manufacturers promptly reintroduced the AR-15 after the ban expired, and sales went way up. 

There are “well over 11 million” AR-15 style rifles in the hands of Americans, according to an investigation by CBS News’s “60 Minutes,” which also notes handguns kill “far more people.”

But AR-15 style rifles have frequently been used in mass shootings, placing the firearm at the center of the debate over gun control — particularly in relation to whether an assault weapons ban should be reimposed. 

High-capacity magazines

High capacity magazines
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut speaks at a news conference on a proposed amendment to ban high-capacity magazines in guns in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2019.

High or large-capacity magazines are typically defined as ammunition-feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds. Nine states currently ban high-capacity magazines.

High-capacity magazines are capable of holding up to 100 rounds of ammunition, allowing for dozens of shots to be fired off before reloading. The rifle used in a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was affixed with a 100-round drum magazine.

 

Bump stock

Bump stock
A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, on October 4, 2017.

A bump stock is an attachment that allows a semi-automatic weapon to fire at a more rapid rate. 

It replaces the standard stock of a rifle, or the part of the firearm that rests against the shoulder. A bump stock uses the recoil effect to bounce the rifle off of the shoulder of the shooter, which in turn causes the trigger to continuously bump back into the shooter’s trigger finger. 

In effect, bump stocks allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns. 

Bump stocks were banned by the Trump administration in a large part due to the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, which was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

 

Red flag law

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a sign during a rally against guns and white supremacy in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 6, 2019.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
Rally against guns and white supremacy in front of the White House in Washington

Red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk laws, allow judges to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms if they’re considered a danger to themselves or others. 

Nineteen states and Washington, DC, have implemented some form of a red flag law, according to Everytown for Gun Safety: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Gun show loophole

gun show
In this Jan. 26, 2013 file photo, a customer looks over shotguns on display at the annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, New York.

The so-called “gun show loophole” is among the most discussed topics in relation to calls for gun reform advocates for expanded background checks.

“Gun show loophole” is a catch-all phrase referring to the sale of firearms by unlicensed, private sellers at gun shows and other venues — including the internet — without the involvement of background checks. 

Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks, but not all sellers are required to be licensed — laws vary from state to state. In this sense, there is a “loophole” that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency that licenses gun dealers.

“As a general rule, you will need a license if you repetitively buy and sell firearms with the principal motive of making a profit,” the ATF states. “In contrast, if you only make occasional sales of firearms from your personal collection, you do not need to be licensed.”

The implementation of a federal law requiring universal background checks, or background checks for all gun sales, has been at the top of the wish list for gun control advocates for years.

It’s also a policy that the vast majority of Americans support. According to polling conducted by Pew Research Center in late 2018, 91% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans favor background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.

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VP Harris tells the GOP to ‘stop pushing the false choice’ that ‘everybody’s trying to come after your guns’ after series of mass shootings

kamala harris
Vice President Kamala Harris

  • Harris told the GOP to “stop pushing the false choice” that “everybody’s trying to come after your guns.”
  • “It has to be possible that people agree that these slaughters have to stop,” she said.
  • Most GOP lawmakers have rejected any calls to strengthen gun-control measures since the shootings.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vice President Kamala Harris told Republican leaders on Wednesday to stop spreading the “false choice” that “everybody’s trying to come after your guns.”

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” days after a mass shooting in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store that killed 10 people, Harris said that “it has to be possible that people agree that these slaughters have to stop.”

“And this is, again, reject the false choice of – and stop pushing it for sure – stop pushing the false choice that this means everybody’s trying to come after your guns,” she continued. “That is not what we’re talking about.”

The Boulder massacre came just a week after a spree shooting in three Atlanta-area massage parlors that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. It is also the sixth mass shooting to happen within a 40-mile radius of Colorado Springs since 1999.

In the wake of the Atlanta and Boulder shootings, Democratic lawmakers and gun-control advocates have renewed their calls for stricter regulations around purchasing firearms.

The House of Representatives also recently passed two bills that would close loopholes in the background-check system and make gun transfers between people without licenses illegal. One of the measures was supported by eight House Republicans.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on the Senate to pass the two House bills and emphasized the toll gun violence has taken on the US.

“While the flag was still flying half-staff” for the victims of the Georgia shootings, “another American city has been scarred by gun violence and resulting trauma,” he said.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again,” he said when addressing the Boulder shooting. “I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”

The US far outstrips any other country in gun ownership, with an estimated 393 million firearms – more than the country’s population. Second in ownership rates is war-torn Yemen, according to a recent global study.

But Republicans, many of whom enjoy strong support from the National Rifle Association and the pro-gun lobby, have sharply pushed back on efforts to strengthen gun-control measures.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence Tuesday that Democrats were engaging in “ridiculous theater” and using mass shootings to take people’s guns away.

“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Cruz said. “What happens in this committee after every mass shooting is Democrats propose taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that’s their political objective.”

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, meanwhile, compared gun violence to drunk driving and gun owners to being Muslim.

“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people. We ought to try to combat that too,” he said at the judiciary committee hearing. “The answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers. The answer is to concentrate on the problem.”

He continued: “When a Muslim jihadist blows up a school full of school children, we are often told not to condemn all of the actions of those of the Muslim faith because of the actions of a few. And I agree with that. So why doesn’t the same rule apply to the 100 million-plus gun owners in America who are exercising their constitutional right?”

It wasn’t the first time Kennedy made the comparison.

After the 2017 Las Vegas massacre in which a gunman opened fire on a music festival, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500, Kennedy told TIME Magazine, “When an Islamic terrorist blows up a school with kids in it, we are told not to judge all Muslims by the acts of a few. And I agree with that. So why do we want to judge all 80 million gun owners in America because of the acts of one perverted idiot? I don’t know what else to call him.”

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Ted Cruz says he won’t apologize for ‘thoughts and prayers’ for Colorado shooting victims

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

  • Sen. Ted Cruz said he won’t apologize for “thoughts and prayers” for Colorado shooting victims.
  • Cruz also slammed Democrats for “ridiculous theater” with gun law proposals.
  • In 2018, Cruz was the top recipient of NRA donations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senator Ted Cruz said he won’t apologize for sending thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Boulder, Colorado supermarket shooting.

“I don’t apologize for thoughts or prayers. I will lift up in prayer people who are hurting and I believe in the power of prayer, and the contempt of Democrats for prayers is an odd sociological thing,” Cruz, a Republican said in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

He added: “But I also agree thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. We need action.”

The comments come after police said a gunman shot and killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket on Monday.

That shooting came less than a week after a 21-year-old man was accused of killing eight people at three Georgia spas.

In the same hearing, Cruz lashed out at Democrats and alleged they play “ridiculous theater” when proposing gun legislation like universal background checks following mass shootings.

Cruz said the measures would take away guns from “law-abiding citizens.”

“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Cruz said.

In 2013, Cruz and Sen. Chuck Grassley first introduced the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act, which would have worked to prevent people with criminal records from obtaining guns. They re-introduced the bill in 2019.

Cruz said that bill “targeted at violent criminals, targeted at felons, targeted at fugitives, targeted at those with serious mental disease to stop them from getting firearms and put them in prison when they try to illegally buy guns,” and said proposals made by Democrats take away guns from law-abiding citizens and “not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse.”

In 2018, Cruz was also the top recipient of money from the National Rifle Association receiving $309,021 in donations.

Cruz’s office did not reply to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.

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Pressure is mounting to ditch the filibuster and pass gun reform after back-to-back mass shootings in the US

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Police work on the scene outside a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo

  • Calls to end the Senate filibuster have intensified after two mass shootings in one week in the US.
  • Activists say trashing the filibuster is the only way to pass gun reform in the Senate.
  • A growing number of Democrats have voiced their support for filibuster elimination or reform.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After 18 people were killed in two high-profile mass shootings within a week in the US, calls to abolish the filibuster have been intensifying among activists and Democratic politicians as a necessary step to pass gun reform.

Ten people were killed in a Boulder, Colorado, King Soopers grocery store after a gunman opened fire Tuesday afternoon. That tragedy came only one week after a man shot and killed 8 people in three Atlanta-area massage parlors on March 16.

As the country slowly crawls back toward normality after a year of pandemic-related lockdowns, mass shootings – an undeniable reality of American life – seem to be back in full force.

Police said Tuesday Ahmad Alissa, the man charged in the Boulder shooting, bought a semi-automatic rifle less than a week before Monday’s massacre, and in Atlanta, accused gunman Robert Aaron Long allegedly bought the gun he’s suspected of using to murder eight people the day of the shooting.

Neither Colorado nor Georgia has a waiting period when it comes to purchasing firearms. In fact, just 10 US states and Washington, DC, have any type of law requiring a waiting period between the time a person attempts to purchase a gun and when they are able to take possession of the weapon, Insider’s Connor Perrett reported.

The dual tragedies have once again reinvigorated calls for comprehensive, federal gun control. But this time, proponents have zeroed in on a tangible first step: eliminate the filibuster.

Calls to gut the filibuster – the Senate rule that requires 60 votes rather than a simple majority of 51 to pass most legislation – have been ramping up since Democrats took control of Congress in January.

Supporters argue doing so is the only way to push forward a progressive agenda, including an increased minimum wage, student-loan forgiveness, and now, gun control.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted her support for nuking the rule following Monday’s shooting.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Texas politician Julian Castro echoed their support.

Castro told CNN the recent shootings are just one more example of why the country needs “significant filibuster reform” that makes it easier for “effective, meaningful legislation” like gun control to be enacted.

Merkley said if Republicans won’t “get on board” with common-sense gun safety legislation, “we should abolish the filibuster and get it done.”

Democratic rising star and Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman tweeted his support.

And the former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich delivered a concise message.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois said Congress’ refusal to pass gun legislation has made it complicit in recent violence, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Even with the Democrats’ narrow control of both chambers, passing any type of gun legislation in the Senate is unlikely. Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans on board in order to bypass the filibuster.

Nuking the filibuster could prove to be an equally insurmountable task as at least two moderate Democratic senators have voiced their opposition to doing so. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared earlier this year he would “never” change his mind on the filibuster and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has also said she’s against dismantling the Senate staple.

The growing list of Democratic supporters, however, could mean an opportunity to at least reform the filibuster, rather than abolishing it entirely.

But for the people who suffer the consequences of gun violence, action can’t come soon enough. Fred Guttenberg, a gun-control activist and father of a student murdered in the 2018 Parkland school shooting said the recent gun violence was both predictable and inevitable.

“End the filibuster,” Guttenberg tweeted Tuesday. “Gun safety needs to move forward without them.”

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8 House Republicans vote in support of expanding background checks on gun purchases

AR-15 style rifles
Workers arrange AR-15 style rifles on a wall that are for sale at Davidson Defense in Orem, Utah on February 4, 2021.

  • Eight Republicans voted in favor of a bill that would expand background checks on gun sales.
  • The House passed two bills on Thursday aimed at gun safety.
  • Three Republicans co-sponsored the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Eight House Republicans on Thursday broke from their party and joined Democrats to support a bill that would expand background check requirements for gun purchases and transfers.

The legislation, named the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, passed the House in a 227-203 vote on Thursday. It was co-sponsored by three GOP lawmakers, Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, Chris Smith of New Jersey and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

Republican Reps. Vern Buchanan, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Salazar of Florida, as well as Andrew Garbarino of New York and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois also voted in favor of the bill.

Only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted against it.

The bill would close the “Gun Show Loophole” and make firearms transactions between unlicensed individuals illegal. It would require a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer to take possession of the firearm and conduct a background check.

“This status quo is unacceptable,” Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson, who introduced the bill, said in a statement on Thursday. “I’ve introduced legislation to close the private gun sale loophole. Because background checks work and expanding them would only make more people safe from gun violence.”

Democrats have long prioritized implementing expanded gun-safety measures in the country in response to mass shootings. Thursday’s passage marks the party’s first major efforts on gun control since winning the White House and retaking the House and Senate.

“We hope that the with the big, strong bipartisan vote we have today, to send it over to the Senate and the drumbeat across America, that the change will come,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a news conference on Thursday.

The House on Thursday also passed another bill, called the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, in a 219-210 vote. Only a pair of Republicans, Smith and Fitzpatrick, supported the legislation. Two Democrats, Golden and Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, opposed it.

That bill would close the “Charleston Loophole,” which under current federal law allows a gun transaction to proceed even if a background check is incomplete after three business days. The legislation aims to expand the requirement to 10 business days.

Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn spearheaded the bill in response to the 2015 Charleston church shooting in South Carolina, where a white supremacist killed nine Black Americans.

Giffords Law Center, a gun-safety group, estimates that around 22% of Americans obtained their most recent gun without a background check. National polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans – more than 90% – support background check requirements.

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Controversial GOP rep. Lauren Boebert claims she started carrying a gun after a man was beaten to death behind her restaurant. He actually died of a drug overdose.

lauren boebert gas reimbursement
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

  • Colorado Rep. Laura Boebert made a speech on the House floor this week backing gun rights.
  • She cited a story of a man who was “beaten to death” outside her Colorado restaurant as justification.
  • But local police debunked her claim, as an autopsy revealed the man had died from a drug overdose.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Colorado lawmaker Lauren Boebert once again used a bogus story about a man being “beaten to death” outside her restaurant to advocate for gun rights, despite the local police department debunking her claims after an autopsy showed that the man had died from a drug overdose.

Boebert was speaking on the House floor during Wednesday’s debate on bills that might expand background checks before guns can be purchased.

“There was an altercation outside my restaurant where a man was physically beat to death, there were no weapons involved, he was beat to death by another man’s hands,” she said, referring to a 2013 incident outside her Shooters Grill restaurant in Rifle, Colorado.

Boebert used the story to justify why she and the staff at her restaurant all carry guns at work.

“I have a lot of young girls who work in my restaurant and we needed an equalizer.”

However, it was reported by the Colorado Sun newspaper in September last year that the Rifle Police Department had no record of such a murder.

The police department told the newspaper that a man had indeed died down the street from the gun-themed Shooters Grill restaurant in August, but that an autopsy indicated that he had died after overdosing on drugs.

Yahoo News reported that this was not the first time that Boebert had made this claim, as she told the same story multiple times when running for office.

Boebert has had an eventful first few months in Congress.

In January, she clashed with Capitol police after setting off the metal detectors that were put in place as part of new security rules after the Capitol riot.

She also targeted gun control advocate and Parkland high school shooting survivor David Hogg for “not being tough enough,” calling him a “child” and telling him to “give (his) keyboard a rest.”

Boebert’s comments came after Hogg called out Boebert and her fellow freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on Twitter and said they represented the “real threats” inside Congress.

In February, she also drew flack for attending a Zoom call with House committee colleagues with a pile of guns displayed in the background.

She was also criticized this week for releasing an attack ad against Nancy Pelosi that featured shooting sound effects.

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Video emerges of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing a Parkland shooting survivor weeks after the attack

Marjorie Taylor Greene David Hogg
Recently-resurfaced video showing Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg on Capitol Hill in 2018.

  • Video resurfaced on Wednesday shows Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing David Hogg in 2018. 
  • Greene is seen following the Parkland shooting survivor as he walks toward the Capitol.
  • She also called him a “coward” and said his silence is evidence he can’t defend his gun-control stance.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A recently-resurfaced video shows Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg on Capitol Hill shortly after the 2018 attack, calling him a “coward.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was among the 17 people killed in the school shooting, shared the video on Twitter on Wednesday.

The video shows Greene tailing Hogg as he walked toward the Capitol in March 2018 to advocate for gun control, just weeks after he survived the February 14 shooting. Hogg was 17 years old at the time. Greene was elected to Congress in November 2020.

The footage shows Greene peppering Hogg with questions, asking why he’s using kids to push his anti-gun agenda and telling him that there wouldn’t be school shootings if more people carried guns.

Hogg ignores Greene’s questions and continues walking in silence. 

“Why are you using kids as a barrier? Do you not know how to defend your stance? Look, I’m an American citizen, I’m a gun owner. I have a concealed carry permit, I carry a gun for protection for myself, and you are using your lobby and the money behind it and the kids to try to take away my Second Amendment rights,” Greene says in the video.

“You don’t have anything to say for yourself? You can’t defend your stance?” she continues.

“You know, if school zones were protected with security guards with guns, there would be no mass shootings at schools. Do you know that? The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. And yet you’re attacking our Second Amendment. And you have nothing to say. No words.”

Read more: How to get a 6-figure job lobbying the Biden administration and Congress, according to 5 government relations pros

Eventually Greene stops following Hogg and turns to address the camera, complaining about how Hogg secured meetings with lawmakers while she didn’t get one. She also accuses Hogg, without evidence, of being paid to lobby for gun control. 

“Guess what, I’m a gun owner, I’m an American citizen, and I have nothing. But this guy with his George Soros funding and his major liberal funding has got everything. I want you to think about that. That’s where we are. And he’s a coward. He can’t say one word because he can’t defend his stance,” Greene says. 

Hogg responded to the video going viral on Wednesday on Twitter, saying it’s an example of the kind of intimidation fellow gun-violence survivors face while trying to prevent other mass shootings.

“As we fight for peace, we also face massive amounts of death threats and armed intimidation simply for not wanting our friends to die anymore,” Hogg said. “This is not the country we should be and it’s not the country we have to be.”

He added: “Part of the reason we were so calm with [Greene] harassing us was because we have been through similar stuff so many times before. It’s just this time it was on video – and they’re in Congress now. What you see in that video is about 0.1% of what we go through in a year.”

Insider has contacted Greene for comment.

Greene is one of the most controversial Republican to be elected to Congress in 2020, thanks to her support in the past for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

Last week, school shooting survivors called on Greene to resign when a report found that she agreed with a social media post that claimed the Parkland shooting was staged.

A CNN report published on Tuesday found that Greene had previously shown support for assassinating Democratic leaders like former President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Earlier this week the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would speak to Greene about her “disturbing” social-media comments. 

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