Another debate on the sale of weapons in the United States
Following the catastrophe of the Uvalde massacre, the debate on weapons is once again brought to light, however, we must be realistic about the Democrats’ ability to act, which remains limited.
Texas will host a meeting of the American pro-gun lobby NRA holds its annual meeting this Friday in Texas, in the city of Houston. A large crowd of tens of thousands of people is expected to attend this great mass, which is to be opened by former President Donald Trump.
A meeting that takes place three days after a massacre in a school in the same state, Texas, where nineteen children and two teachers were killed by a gunman. The event is therefore controversial.
Many demonstrations are planned against its holding. For many citizens in the USA, it is morally impossible to hold such a demonstration three days after a massacre in a school. A massacre that has reopened, as with each killing in the United States, the debate on firearms in the country.
The situation on the legislation at the moment:
It is possible in the United States to buy weapons. Owning a pistol or rifle is a fundamental right for adults, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, in the Second Amendment. This is what advocates of more regulation have been trying to challenge for decades.
The agenda is important, and Connecticut’s Democratic Senator Chris Murphy was once again pleading with his elected colleagues to act. Chris Murphy has been advocating for more oversight since a school massacre in his state ten years ago. “I’m here to beg, to literally beg my colleagues: let’s work together to pass legislation so this is less likely to happen again,” he said. “I know my Republican colleagues will not agree with everything I propose, but we can find a common denominator, a place where we can find agreement.”
President Joe Biden also asked this week “when is America finally going to confront the gun lobby?”. Phrases that show the powerlessness of the Democrats on this issue. The problem is that they only have a very small majority in Congress. And with that, they cannot pass important changes as Joe Biden had promised during his campaign.
The issue is complicated by the fact that even if a law were to be passed, it would have to be validated by the Supreme Court, which would have to say whether the text was compatible with the Constitution. But the court, after one term of Donald Trump, is now very conservative. The majority of its members are opposed to any regulation. Thus, the proposals of some senators to better check the criminal or psychological background of gun buyers are regularly refused.
There are solutions because it is possible to go beyond Congress, the American states could take measures directly, at the level of each state, to ban weapons, or at least supervise them more. Some have already done so. In New York State, for example, you need a permit to buy and own a gun, and they do background checks before you check out. But these regulations do not exist everywhere. Some states have even relaxed the rules in recent years. Recent attempts to tighten the rules have sometimes been halted by the courts.
The toll to date is dramatic, the Gun Violence Archive has recorded 214 shootings in the United States since the beginning of 2022.