December 14, 2017 marks five years since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 school children and seven adults were shot and killed by a gunman. Since the deadly shooting that shook the entire country, zero new pieces of gun control legislation have been passed at the national level. This is not for a lack of trying on the part of legislators who want to see tighter gun control laws. While no new laws have been added to the books since the Sandy Hook tragedy, Newsweek reports that more than 100 pieces have been proposed, but have ultimately failed.
Mass shootings remain a significant issue in the United States. Since Sandy Hook, there have been at least 1,500 more mass shootings, according to NBC News, including at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016 and at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas this fall. As advocates for stricter gun control continue to push for more legislation, here’s a look at some of the gun legislation that has failed since 27 people were killed in Newtown.
expanded background checks
Just a few months after the shooting at Sandy Hook, members of Congress attempted to pass a bill that would have expanded background checks on people purchasing guns in 2013. Republican members of the Senate and a few Democrats voted the bill down, to the dismay of President Obama. After the bill failed, Obama addressed the press and called the vote “shameful.”
Earlier on the same day that Congress failed to pass the expanded background checks bill, the bi-partisan Manchin-Toomey Amendment was also shot down. The bill, written by Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, sought to require background checks on guns sold online and at gun shows. The amendment was voted down 54-46, with 41 Republicans and five Democrats voting against.
assault weapons ban of 2013
Democratic senator from California Diane Feinstein also introduced gun control legislation in 2013. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 included provisions that would have banned the sale, manufacture, transfer, and importation of various automatic assault rifles and pistols. The bill was intended as an upgrade of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. The bill died in committee and never saw a vote.
Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act of 2014
In the summer of 2014, Democratic senators Tim Kaine, Richard Blumenthal, and Chris Murphy introduced the Domestic Violence Gun Homicide Prevention Act. The bill was intended to “encourage states to remove firearms from domestic abusers,” according to Kaine’s website. The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for the Act, but it never moved beyond that stage.
terror gap bills
Following the terrifying mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida where a shooter killed 49 people and injured 58 more, a bipartisan group of senators attempted to pass a bill that would close the so-called “terror gap.” Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old responsible for the Pulse shooting, had been investigated twice by the FBI over suspicions that he was potentially involved with terrorism. The Terror Gap Bill sought to broaden background checks on gun sales and also restrict gun sales to people on terrorist watch lists, Reuters reported.
automatic gunfire protection act of 2017
In October of this year, Senator Feinstein once again introduced legislation that would curb the sale of automatic weapons. The Automatic Gunfire Protection Act would have closed a loophole that allowed the sale of firearms that can be easily modified to function the same as illegal automatic assault weapons, according to Feinstein’s website. The same day that the bill was introduced to the Senate, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and never moved past the subcommittee.
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