As is often the case after massacres such as the one that occurred in Texas on Tuesday, May 24, the rulers in Washington have rushed the day after to weigh what they can do to control the possession of weapons, and the answer, for now, is that little, for the resistance of the bulk of the Republican Party and the powerful and influential gun lobby.
It is true that President Joe Biden called on Tuesday in an emotional speech at the White House for urgent measures to the legislature, and that some Democrats have implored their colleagues on Capitol Hill to jointly consider any reform that would make it more difficult to acquire weapons of high caliber and automatic, which are usually used in this type of massacre.
For the moment, however, the only thing the Democrats have achieved is to pave the way for a vote on tougher tests and procedures necessary to acquire automatic weapons.
At the moment, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schummer, has begun the process of putting to a vote two laws already approved by the House of Representatives that, on the one hand, would apply a more detailed criminal record check to potential buyers of weapons on the Internet and at gun shows, and on the other, it would lengthen the waiting period to buy weapons from those selected by an instant background check system, to give the FBI, the judicial police, more time to investigate them. The only thing that is known about these votes is that in principle they would be before July 4, the day the summer recess begins.
These are measures that would actually do little to prevent massacres like the one on Tuesday in Texas, in which 19 children and two teachers died, or other previous ones, because those who commit them usually do not have a criminal record. Still, the bulk of Republicans, and some centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, oppose tightening controls on gun ownership.
Those who are leading the efforts to reformulate the permissive gun laws in the US are the two Democratic senators from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. The reason is that both represent the state in which six adults and 20 children were killed in the 2012 shooting by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a massacre that shocked the world with its cruelty.
"We need to vote. We need every member of the Senate to take responsibility. Each of us must speak out," Senator Blumenthal, chairman of the Justice subcommittee, said in a speech Tuesday on Capitol Hill. "We have another Sandy Hook. What are we doing about it?” Murphy said.
The Democrats have a meager majority in the two houses of the Capitol, insufficient to approve an ambitious project to reform gun ownership. According to the most recent polls, they may lose that majority in the partial elections that will take place in the US in November, and in which a third of the Senate and the entire House will be renewed.