‘Ridiculous theater’: Sen. Cruz’s pushback on gun restrictions epitomizes their high hurdle

Virtually every time there is a mass shooting in the United States, the debate quickly turns to whether this might be the one — or, in the case of the last week, the two — that will ultimately force major action on gun restrictions. The tragedies in Atlanta last week and Boulder, Colo., this week have spurred the expected and logical debate about what more can be done about making sure guns don’t find their ways into the hands of the kinds of people who committed these atrocities. And there is an attempt to have that debate. But even those who have spurred previous efforts acknowledge it’s likely for naught, as it has long been. Combined with the structural issues and the unusually strong instant pushback from conservative senators, it doesn’t exactly lay the groundwork for something to happen. The last major push for major gun restrictions came in 2013. The combination of a Republican senator, Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.), and a Democratic senator from a conservative state, Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), gave the movement hope in a Democratic-controlled Senate after elementary school students in Connecticut were massacred. If these lawmakers could support such a bill, and at such a time, maybe it had legs. In the end, just four Senate Republicans voted for the bill expanding background checks, while multiple Democrats voted against it. Two of those four Senate Republican “yes” votes — John McCain (Ariz.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) — are no longer in the Senate. Neither […]

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