Highlights

  • Texas school shooting reignites gun control debate in USA
  • US President Joe Biden blamed gun lobby, sought action
  • Republican Senator Ted Cruz said stricter laws not the solution

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Why USA won't make stricter gun laws despite Texas shooting - gun lobby, Republican, filibuster hurdles

Many legislators belonging to the Republican party oppose stricter laws, claiming that it would be a violation of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

The mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was horrific, but not new in America. At least 40 such incidents have taken place at American schools, colleges, and universities in 2022 so far. Reacting to the Texas shooting, US President Joe Biden gave an impassioned speech for change, but it is unlikely.

One of the biggest enablers of such shooting incidents is believed to be lenient gun laws, making it easy for people to buy firearms. But repeated attempts to make gun laws stricter have faced hurdle after hurdle in the US Congress.

Many legislators belonging to the Republican party oppose stricter laws, claiming that it would be a violation of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which states that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".

ALSO WATCH | Joe Biden on Texas school shooting: time to stand up to gun lobby

After the latest tragedy, Senator Ted Cruz said, "You see politicians trying to politicise it. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn't work. It's not effective. It doesn't prevent crime. We know what does prevent crime, which is going after felons and fugitives, and those with serious mental illness."

A few gun control legislations are currently being considered in the US Congress.

One of the bills, called the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, has been passed by the House of Representatives. It was placed on the Senate's legislative calendar after the Texas incident. It aims to close the "Charleston loophole" which allows some licensed gun sales to conclude without a background check.

Another bill, called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, has also been passed by the House. The bill aims to expand background checks for all firearm sales or transfers. It has support from many legislators belonging to both Republican and Democratic camps.

But this is not enough to get it passed. When gun control laws reach the US Senate, they are come under threat from the filibuster.

The filibuster is a rule in the Senate which allows any member to block voting on a bill, simply by not letting the debate on it end. This can involve hours of non-stop speaking, sometimes through the night, to force the other side to withdraw or delay a decision on the bill. To overcome a filibuster and initiate voting, Senators pushing gun control laws would need 60 votes. And this means getting sizeable Republican support, which appears next to impossible.

So, why are Republicans against stricter gun laws, even if it means tragedies like the Texas one? One of the reasons, as President Biden suggested, could be gun lobbies, which do not want firearm sales to go down because of strict laws.

A more fundamental reason could be voter preferences. In a 2020 survey by Pew, 46% people said that the Republican party reflected their views on gun policy, while 42% said that the Democratic party reflected it better. In a 2021 survey by Gallup, 50% people were either satisfied with existing gun laws, or wanted looser laws. 41% were dissatisfied and wanted stricter gun laws.

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