US Congress mulls action on gun control following mass shootings | Gun Violence News

Washington, DC – Mark Barden has seen moments like this come and go – instances when he thought the US Congress may lastly move gun reforms to thwart extra mass killings.

However though none of those efforts have succeeded, Barden, who misplaced his seven-year-old son Daniel within the 2012 Sandy Hook bloodbath, stays optimistic that the time is close to. A current spate of mass shootings within the nation, and particularly the tragic killing of 19 college students and two academics at an elementary college in Uvalde, Texas, should be the catalyst for reforms, he informed Al Jazeera.

“This can be a essential second,” stated Barden, who cofounded the Sandy Hook Promise Motion Fund to push for options to stop future mass shootings. “We’ve to as a nation collectively encourage them, demand them, implore them to step up, do their job, as a result of that’s what they had been elected to do.”

However whereas the Uvalde taking pictures and different current tragedies have sparked new bipartisan efforts to seek out settlement on gun-control measures, specialists say any proposal must be restricted in scope to move each homes of Congress. The percentages of significant reform are thus slim.

Ongoing talks on gun laws amongst a gaggle of Republican and Democratic senators are usually not considering main initiatives, corresponding to banning assault rifles or elevating the minimal age to purchase one. As a substitute, they’re centered on narrower points, corresponding to “pink flag” legal guidelines, which permit for the elimination of firearms from anybody who could pose a hazard to themselves or others. Modest reforms to background checks and elevated spending on psychological well being and college security are additionally underneath dialogue.

“That might not be sufficient, and that will not be acceptable to Democrats,” Democratic strategist Maria Cardona informed Al Jazeera.

Senators concerned within the talks have reported progress in direction of a doable settlement, however acknowledged much more work is forward of them.

“We’re making speedy progress towards a commonsense bundle that would garner assist from each Republicans and Democrats,” Republican Senator Susan Collins stated in a press release final Wednesday.

Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator within the talks, stated an settlement should be reached throughout the subsequent 5 days due to a deadline set by Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer.

INTERACTIVE Mass shootings in the US on the rise
(Al Jazeera)

“It’s frankly a take a look at of democracy,” Murphy informed CNN on Sunday. “It’s a take a look at of the federal authorities as as to whether we are able to ship at a second of simply fierce nervousness amongst the American public. So we’re nearer than ever earlier than. Let’s see if we land it.”

Main hurdle within the Senate

Within the wake of the Uvalde bloodbath, polls present that Individuals overwhelmingly assist main gun reforms. A complete of 88 p.c strongly or considerably assist background checks for all gun gross sales, together with these at gun reveals, and 67 p.c strongly or considerably assist a ban on assault-style weapons, in keeping with a Politico/Morning Seek the advice of survey carried out on Might 25.

“We’ll should see what the present group of senators produces and if it will possibly move. The sense is on Capitol Hill that the extra slim and particular, the higher – however we’ve got to attend and see,” Republican analyst and onetime Capitol Hill aide Doug Heye informed Al Jazeera.

On the identical time, the Home of Representatives is taking over main laws, together with provisions to boost the age to purchase sure semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, and to limit the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines – however such measures haven’t any likelihood of approval within the Senate.

Gun-control proponents level to the rising variety of mass shootings within the US as proof of the necessity for a serious legislative overhaul. In response to the nonprofit analysis group Gun Violence Archive, there have been greater than 240 mass shootings this 12 months, greater than 30 of which have taken place because the Might 24 Uvalde tragedy.

US President Joe Biden made a forceful argument for reforms, together with a ban on assault rifles, in an handle to the nation final Thursday, saying: “For God’s sake, how rather more carnage are we keen to simply accept? … It’s time for the Senate to do one thing.”

With Schumer decided to carry a vote on the problem quickly, Cardona famous: “That vote will both be a vote on a compromise invoice, which might be nice, or will probably be a vote on a invoice that Republicans block – not a great search for them going into the midterms and [amid] the outcries from Individuals to do one thing.”

For a invoice to get by way of the Senate, it should win the assist of not only a majority of senators, however of at the very least 60 – a serious hurdle that explains why current efforts have failed. Since Democrats management simply 50 Senate seats, any gun-control measure wants the backing of at the very least 10 Republicans, most of whom oppose main adjustments, citing the necessity to defend Second Modification rights.

Opponents have additionally argued that stiffer gun-control legal guidelines wouldn’t stop mass shootings, as a substitute pointing to points corresponding to psychological well being and college security. Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell has stated the latter two are “what we have to goal”, noting final Thursday: “I’m hopeful and optimistic that we are able to [pass bipartisan legislation], however I, like most of you, imagine this must be executed and should be executed per the Structure.”

Nonetheless, Barden of the Sandy Hook Promise Motion Fund holds out hope for gun reforms, saying Republican legislators must take into consideration the general public temper. Within the meantime, he’s persevering with his advocacy work, together with educating college students the best way to look out for warning alerts that would presage a college taking pictures. Extra coaching inside communities is required to assist handle the plague of gun violence, he stated.

“We are able to stop a variety of these tragedies from taking place,” Barden stated. “There are at all times warning indicators, and that’s what drives my work.”

Severodonetsk mayor says just 20% of city under Ukrainian control | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukrainian forces had been holding only a fifth of the jap metropolis of Severodonetsk on Wednesday, however there was nonetheless hope that they may stop Russia from taking full management, the pinnacle of town administration has mentioned.

Russian forces management 60 p.c of town and Ukraine holds 20 p.c whereas the remaining has turn into “no-man’s land”, mentioned Oleksandr Stryuk, the Ukrainian head of town administration.

“The 20 p.c is being fiercely defended by our armed forces,” Stryuk instructed the information company Reuters. “Our troops are holding defensive strains. Makes an attempt are being made to drive out the Russian troops.”

“We have now hope that regardless of the whole lot we are going to free town and never permit it to be utterly occupied,” he mentioned.

Earlier, Ukraine’s Normal Workers mentioned Russian forces had been pounding infrastructure in jap and southern areas together with Severodonetsk.

Russian forces entered the jap Ukrainian metropolis, the biggest nonetheless held by Kyiv within the Luhansk area, late final week after weeks of shelling.

If Russia captures town and its smaller twin Lysychansk on the upper west financial institution of the Siverskyi Donets river, it could maintain all of Luhansk, certainly one of two provinces within the jap Donbas area that Moscow claims on behalf of separatists and a key warfare goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Severodonetsk
A person walks previous a residential constructing broken throughout shelling in Severodonetsk, northwest of Luhansk, Ukraine [EPA]

Stryuk mentioned that 12,000 to 13,000 individuals stay within the metropolis however that each one important infrastructure had been destroyed and that entry to town to ship meals or different support was inconceivable.

“They’re residing in situations of fixed shelling, and now road battles are happening, too, which has heightened the hazard to the civilian inhabitants.”

Severodonetsk, a Soviet-era metropolis, homes a big chemical manufacturing facility. Based on Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai, a Russian air strike hit the plant on Tuesday, blowing up a tank of poisonous nitric acid and releasing a plume of pink smoke.

Russia “attacked the Azot manufacturing facility from a airplane, ensuing within the launch of poisonous substances”, Gaidai mentioned, urging residents to stay inside.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned Russia’s strikes within the space, “together with blind air bombing, are simply loopy”.

The chief of the pro-Moscow self-declared Luhansk Folks’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, instructed TASS information company that Russian proxies had superior slower than anticipated to safeguard metropolis infrastructure and “train warning round its chemical factories”.

West of Severodonetsk, within the metropolis of Sloviansk, the AFP information company reported three individuals died and 6 others had been wounded in a rocket assault that destroyed buildings. Not less than one particular person died and two others had been injured in Soledar, between Sloviansk and Severodonetsk, AFP reported.

In the meantime, america mentioned it could provide superior rockets to Kyiv to assist pressure Moscow to barter an finish to the warfare.

US President Joe Biden introduced the availability of precision rocket programs and munitions that might strike at long-range Russian targets, a part of a $700m weapons bundle anticipated to be unveiled on Wednesday.

“We have now moved rapidly to ship Ukraine a major quantity of weaponry and ammunition so it could actually battle on the battlefield and be within the strongest attainable place on the negotiating desk,” Biden wrote in an opinion piece within the New York Occasions.

A senior Biden administration official mentioned the brand new provides – which come on high of billions of {dollars} value of apparatus comparable to drones and anti-aircraft missiles – included the M142 Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which Kyiv has mentioned is “essential” to counter Russian missile assaults.

Addressing issues that weapons comparable to HIMARS might draw the US into direct battle, Jonathan Finer, deputy White Home nationwide safety adviser, mentioned Washington had requested Ukraine for assurances the missiles wouldn’t strike inside Russia.

Russia, nevertheless, warned of an elevated threat of direct confrontation with the US.

“We imagine that america is purposefully and diligently including gasoline to the hearth,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed reporters, including that such provides wouldn’t encourage Ukraine’s management to renew stalled peace talks.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz mentioned on Wednesday that Berlin would provide Kyiv with its IRIS-T medium-range surface-to-air defence system.

Zelenskyy has referred to as for extra weapons whereas lambasting the European Union, which agreed on Monday to chop imports of Russian oil, for not sanctioning vitality from Russia sooner.

Russia’s invasion of its neighbour can be threatening a world meals disaster, with Ukraine’s large grain harvest successfully taken off the world market.

Pope Francis appealed on Wednesday for all blockades on wheat exports from Ukraine to be lifted, saying grain shouldn’t be used as a “weapon of warfare”.

Putin launched what he calls a “particular army operation” on February 24 to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and its Western allies name this a baseless pretext for a warfare of aggression.