The war on guns, from Philadelphia to the feds

It’s almost a week since gunmen killed 31 people in mass shootings, 13 hours apart, and nothing concrete has been done to reduce the risk of gun violence in the U.S.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the Senate won’t be taking up any gun bills for another month. He decided to wait, despite the two massacres last weekend, in El Paso and Dayton.

St. Sen. Lawrence Farnese

Wednesday night in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), plus representatives of anti-gun groups and members of the public, reiterated their urgent call to federal and state lawmakers for action on legislation for universal background checks.

Tuesday, St. Sen. Lawrence Farnese (D-Phila.) was among a group of lawmakers from both houses of the General Assembly urging Gov. Tom Wolf (D) to call a special session to address gun reform immediately.

The PA SAFE Caucus — made up of 70 members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate — sent this letter to the governor and leaders of both chambers:

According to Sen. Farnese,

“So far in 2019, there have been six mass shootings in Philadelphia, resulting in two deaths and 30 injuries. In July, seven people were shot at a playground in West Philadelphia.”Âť

He also said he, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Phila/MontCo) and others sponsored SB 90 on Feb. 14. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee, in which he is minority chair, but no vote was ever taken. The bill would increase penalties for people who illegally

“possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms.”Âť

Also Tuesday, Sen. Farnese joined CeaseFirePA, other groups and many people in LOVE Park to rally and discuss taking action against gun violence.

Newspaper publisher McClatchy’s DC Bureau is reporting Sen. McConnell won’t

“schedule a Senate vote for a House measure to expand background checks. Congress is in recess until Sept. 9.”Âť

In February, the House passed two gun control measures.

However, according to McClatchy, on Thursday McConnell suggested

“the Senate could look at a ban on assault weapons and that there’s Senate support for a move to expand background checks to nearly all gun sales.”

McConnell mentioned reviving a bill from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), and support from President Donald Trump, who said Friday the National Rifle Association’s

“very strong views can be fully represented and respected”

during the debate.

Also Friday, the arrest warrant affidavit for accused El Paso Walmart killer Patrick Crusius revealed he confessed right away, last Saturday, and later explained he had been targeting Mexicans.

Tweet from Melania Trump at an El Paso hospital causing controversy: In the bottom-left, the president is smiling and giving a thumbs-up while the first lady holds a two-month-old whose parents were both killed days earlier in the mass shooting. Also there, the president bragged about crowd sizes.

McConnell did question whether the 1994 ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004 showed results.

In New Zealand, gun owners are turning in semiautomatic weapons and gun parts to police as part of a nationwide buyback program.

In March, six days after a lone gunman stormed two mosques, killing 51 people, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced most semiautomatic weapons would be outlawed. The country’s Parliament overwhelmingly did that in three weeks.

Wednesday, Amnesty International issued a warning about the U.S., urging travelers

“to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence.”

It added gun violence is

“so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis.”

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Continuing Coverage: Philadelphia Police Department


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