The United States suffered yet another horrific mass shooting on Tuesday, May 24, when an 18-year-old gunman attacked Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — killing at least 19 children along with two adults, one of whom was 4th Grade teacher Eva Mireles. And Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona expressed his frustration the following day when he told reporters it was “fucking nuts” that the shooter had easy access to firearms.
The gunman, identified as Salvador Ramos by law enforcement, was also killed. Ramos’ motivation for the attack remains unclear.
The attack in Uvalde, which is about 80 miles west of San Antonio in Southern Texas, came less than two weeks after a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, where a gunman attacked a supermarket in a heavily Black section of the city and killed ten people. According to law enforcement, the suspect in that attack was a white nationalist who targeted his victims simply because they were Black.
Kelly’s frustration over all the mass shootings in the U.S. was obvious on May 25, when he told reporters, “It’s fucking nuts to do nothing about this.”
Kelly and his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, are staunch gun control advocates. Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman, was shot in the head while meeting with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011.
Giffords recovered, even managing to attend Kelly's last-ever launch on space shuttle mission STS-134 three months later on April 19, 2011. But she later stepped down from politics to focus on her health and rehabilitation.
In his tweet thread, Kelly said that Americans have come to expect their federal government will "do nothing" after seeing similar deadly mass shootings over the years.
"Politicians in Washington spend countless hours fighting about nothing, but when it comes time to act on an issue that is unique to the United States and demands a response, they find a million reasons not to," Kelly said.
Pledging to spur "action from Washington," Kelly said it's possible to pass "commonsense reforms" to address gun violence that are respected "across the political spectrum."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., signaled Wednesday that the chamber will not quickly vote on a pair of House-passed background-check bills, giving Democrats and Republicans time to negotiate a possible but improbable bipartisan deal to address a spate of horrific mass shootings that have rocked the nation in recent weeks.
“My Republican colleagues can work with us now. I know this is a slim prospect, very slim, all too slim — we’ve been burned so many times before — but this is so important,” a skeptical Schumer said on the Senate floor, the day after 19 children and two adults were shot to death at a southern Texas elementary school.
Other Democrats, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, want to press forward with votes on gun-safety legislation immediately, putting their recalcitrant Republican colleagues on record.
But Schumer’s move likely punts the issue until after next week’s Memorial Day congressional recess. The Democratic leader did, however, take steps that give him the option in the future of quickly bringing the background checks bill to the Senate floor, but Democrats lack the 10 Republican votes needed to defeat a GOP filibuster.
“I’m sympathetic to that,” Schumer said of calls for the Senate to vote on the House-passed background checks bills. “I believe that accountability votes are important. But sadly, this isn’t a case of the American people not knowing where their senators stand. They know.”
Here’s a little more info:
In the immediate term, Murphy says he doesn’t need votes on gun legislation he knows will fail — a view shared by many Democrats. Holding a failed vote now would certainly cool any possible cross-aisle deal-making. At a chairs’ lunch, Schumer told Democrats he wants Republicans to actually engage in bipartisan talks.
“I’m going to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Sinema told reporters on Wednesday morning — a rare holding forth for the reserved senator, further demonstrating the emotion and urgency coursing through the Capitol on Wednesday. “If there is a chance for us to do something to help make it safer for kids in this country, we owe it to the country to do it for real, not just talking points.”
Sinema promptly went to talk to Republicans on the Senate floor. And, behind the scenes, Murphy had already been in touch with both Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a duo more amenable to finding common ground with Murphy.
The killer “appears to have had a history of mental illness and of being increasingly erratic and violent,” said Collins, whose home state has a law allowing police to seize weapons from people deemed a threat by medical professionals, typically known as a red flag law. “That’s the kind of situation in which a yellow or red flag law is intended to prevent.”
Collins also mentioned her previous work to cut down on straw buyers and to prevent people on the terrorism watch list from buying firearms. Toomey remains focused on expanding background checks, the centerpiece of a 2013 effort with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that failed to clear the Senate.
“The thing that would have the best chance would be the thing that’s got Republican support before, which is expanding background checks,” said Toomey, who is retiring at the end of the year. Notably, Collins and Toomey are the only Republicans left in the Senate who supported that bill nine years ago.
Here’s a reminder oh how Kelly’s colleague is still being a horrific obstructionist:
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday knocked Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) following the elementary school shooting in Texas that killed 21 people, including 19 children, criticizing his Grand Canyon State colleague for supporting the legislative filibuster.
Sinema on Tuesday — hours after an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — wrote on Twitter that she was “horrified and heartbroken” by the massacre.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly. No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools,” Sinema wrote.
Just over one hour later, Gallego told Sinema to “just stop,” pointing to her stance on the filibuster, which requires bills to secure 60 votes for passage in the Senate.
“Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say ‘thoughts and prayers,’ ” Gallego wrote on Twitter.
Sinema, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), has been opposed to removing the filibuster to pass various bills, which many Democrats have called for amid stark partisan gridlock in Washington.
Sinema doesn’t face the voters again until 2024 but I sure would love to replace her with Gallego when the time comes. He would be a better colleague for Kelly in the Senate. But we have to make sure Kelly wins his full term this year. Speaking of the Senate race:
Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur, put another $3.5 million this month into a super PAC supporting Blake Masters in the highly competitive Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Arizona, according to a person familiar with the contribution.
The previously unreported donation is Thiel’s first new investment in the super PAC, Saving Arizona, since he seeded it with $10 million more than a year ago. It brings his investment in Masters — a friend and former employee who recently resigned his leadership positions at Thiel’s foundation and hedge fund — to $13.5 million.
Thiel increased his outlay for Masters after the May 3 primary victory in Ohio of J.D. Vance, another friend and former employee, reflecting Thiel’s decision to go all-in on the two populist firebrands and first-time candidates.
The Primary is August 2nd and the last day to register to vote is July 5th. Click here to check or change your voter registration information.
Democracy and Health are on the ballot next year and we need to get ready to keep Arizona Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D. AZ) and his fellow Arizona Democrats campaigns: