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An 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, renewing the debate about U.S. gun laws, accessibility and prevention.
The lone shooter was reportedly armed with body armor and at least one semiautomatic rifle, which authorities say he purchased when he recently turned 18. The shooting is the deadliest U.S. school shooting since 26 people were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut, and comes just over a week after another 18-year-old shooter killed 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket in what was a racially-motivated act.
Voices across the spectrum condemned the shooting, mourned the victims, spoke about the importance of mental health and treatment, offered tips for parents to discuss the issue with kids, and revealed the areas where most Americans agree about guns. But differences were visible in placing blame for the shooting and how to prevent similar acts of violence.
Some voices, especially among Democrats and the political left, pushed for stricter gun laws and placed the blame on loose gun restrictions, gun manufacturers, lobbyists and people who oppose those tighter rules. Many argued that powerful political interests were enabling the over-accessibility of high-powered weapons and leading to preventable violence.
Other voices, particularly from the right and among Republicans, say that blame is misguided. Many argued that criminals will always be able to obtain guns, and that more logical prevention measures would be arming teachers and increasing arms for police. Some also blamed a crisis of morality and lack of good parenting for mental health struggles that might lead a person to commit such violence.
In other coverage, some right-rated news sources focused more on the shooter's troubled family life and concerning social media posts. Some sources on the left and center focused more on accusations that the police response to the shooting was inadequate.
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From opposing bans on handguns to supporting universal background checks, there are several key areas where majorities of the U.S. public agree about guns.
Snippets from the Center
"When he ran for the White House, Biden promised to push gun safety measures and reduce the country's tens of thousands of annual gun deaths. Biden and his fellow Democrats have failed to get the votes in the Senate needed to pass their bills. In 1994, Biden, then a senator from Delaware, ushered in a 10-year ban on assault weapons with a close 52-48 vote in the U.S. Senate that was not renewed in 2004."
Gun control proposals face big hurdles in the Senate
"Schumer said he would allow votes on gun control-related amendments to a domestic terrorism bill that’s coming to the floor Thursday. But Republicans say they will block the bill from proceeding, which means gun control-related votes are unlikely before the Memorial Day recess. Schumer has come under pressure from progressives to put Republicans on the record by forcing votes on expanded background checks and other reforms."
Snippets from the Left
"This fits with the picture that has emerged of the shooter in the Robb Elementary School attack. He turned 18 just days ago and reportedly purchased two military-style weapons. It is believed that the shooter used one miltary-style weapon in the attack, authorities said May 25, 2022. Police have yet to release key information on the shooter, including what motivated him to kill the children and adults at Robb Elementary School."
Fox's focus on mental health after mass shootings is a cynical dodge
"Fox’s argument is flawed. Mental health is a global problem — but gun violence among developed nations is a distinctly American one. The U.S. rate of death by gun violence in 2019 was more than eight times as high as the rate in Canada, for example, while U.S. school shootings outnumbered Canadian ones by a margin of 288 to 2 between 2009 and May 2018."
Snippets from the Right
"Abbott spoke for roughly ten minutes before attempting to transfer the microphone to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, at which point O'Rourke approached the stage. Only some of O'Rourke's words were audible, but he was pointing aggressively at the stage even as those on it shouted him down. 'You are doing nothing,' O’Rourke said at one point."
In Response to the Uvalde Massacre, Politicians Reiterate Their Demands for Irrelevant Gun Control Laws
"Even for the small minority of mass shooters who have disqualifying records, an expanded federal background-check requirement would not pose much of an obstacle. Data from states with similar rules, which in practice require that all firearm sales be completed via licensed dealers, indicate that gun owners generally do not comply with that edict."