After weeks of focusing on a call for police reform, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., renewed her push for gun control Friday — the four-year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
She noted that the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act to ensure universal background scrutiny, but the Senate has not yet taken the bills up for a vote.
On June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire on an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring 53 others. It was the deadliest mass shooting in America by a single gunman to date.
“The men and women murdered at Pulse were there to enjoy an evening of music, dancing and celebration in a place of safety and solidarity; they had the right to live free from the fear of gun violence and hate,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Leader McConnell must listen to the will of the American people, end his partisan obstruction and finally bring H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 up for a vote.”
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Friday also reiterated his call for gun control.
“Sadly, all these years later, terrorism, mass shootings, and hate crimes continue to rip apart our American communities,” the former vice president said in a statement. “Our places of worship have been attacked, Hispanics have been targeted in places like El Paso, the death toll from mass shootings continues to mount, and LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately targeted by violence.”
“The inaction of Republican lawmakers to address the scourge of gun violence in America is unacceptable, and Jill and I stand with the survivors of mass shootings and all the family members of victims to support the #HonorThemWithAction campaign,” Biden added.
The gun control debate has taken the back burner until today as House Democrats, led by Pelosi, have spent the weeks since the May 25 death of George Floyd pushing for police reform, this week introducing the “Justice in Policing Act.” The legislation would ban chokeholds, make it easier for civilians to sue police for misconduct, create a national database of police misconduct and change use-of-force standards.
But the push to “Defund the Police” by progressive advocates has left many feeling more of a need to assert their Second Amendment right.
Troy Slaten, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney, warned that the push "has the potential for a flurry of dangerous unintended consequences like a rise in private militias, private security cooperatives and vigilantism."
"If people don't have police to rely on, they will take the protection of their family and property into their own untrained hands with potentially deadly consequences," Slaten said. "If we combine strict gun control laws with no community policing to respond to calls for service, it would appear to be a recipe for an explosion in crime."