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Fahrenthold: Why gun control legislation is ‘difficult’ to pass, enforce

A woman views a collage of photos of Amarjeet Johal during a vigil at Monument Circle in on April 18, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The vigil was held in the wake of a mass shooting at a FedEx Ground Facility that left at least eight people dead and five wounded on the evening of April 15. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

With more mass shootings in the United States over the weekend, what will be the thing that finally gets Congress to do something about gun control?

Gee & Ursula: Each mass shooting now just a ‘blip on the screen’

“Every time, someone says, ‘OK, this is finally the thing that gets Congress to do something about gun control.’ The thing is, every one of these things is slightly different,” noted KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

In the shooting in Indianapolis at a Fed Ex facility last week, police had taken away one of the shooter’s guns previously, but then, as Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold explains, “the system stopped working after that” and he was able to purchase more guns.

“I guess that’s an example of how difficult gun control legislation is. Because one of the things that people have pushed as, OK, well, if we can’t limit who’s going to buy guns, then we should at least have a mechanism to take guns away when people show a proclivity for violence,” Fahrenthold said.

“And this is a perfect situation for that where the guy’s mother said she feared her son was going to commit suicide by cop. The cops actually visited his house, took away one of his guns, and then the system stopped working after that. He bought two more guns and committed this massacre,” Fahrenthold added. “I think that’s the problem with using these sort of complex, after-the-fact mechanisms to try to keep guns out of the hands of bad people is it requires a lot of action by a lot of people to keep guns away from these folks. And if any part of the system breaks down, as it did in this case, then the system doesn’t work.”

Unfortunately, Fahrenthold doesn’t think there will be much of a change in terms of how guns are regulated in this country.

“The gun laws are, in many cases, state regulations, and it’s up to state law enforcement agencies to enforce them,” he said. “So I don’t see the political will either on the part of the lawmakers, or on the part of the cops enforcing these rules to really crack down.”

In Fahrenthold’s home state of Texas, he explains that there are still a few gun laws left on the books, one of which is that you need a permit to carry a gun.

“The Republicans in Texas tried and failed in this legislative session to get rid of that, to impose what they call constitutional carry, which is basically like, you don’t need a license, you don’t need a permit, you can just get a gun,” he said.

“So, if that’s the way it’s moving, I just don’t see any movement that’s going to materially change how many guns are out there, or who has access to guns,” he added.

In fact, Fahrenthold isn’t confident that anything requiring a 60 vote threshold will move very far in Congress.

“I think the Democrats are focused on other things, most importantly infrastructure, that they feel like are critical to Biden’s and their reelection chances, and that actually have a chance of passing because they can use a 50 vote threshold,” he said. “So I don’t see something like guns or any other police reform, any other kind of major bill, passing the Senate this year that requires 60 votes.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM, and on your smart speaker as well. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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