“It’s time to turn this pain into action” urged Tuesday, during an address to the nation, Joe Biden, “disgusted and tired” by these repeated shootings.
“We must clearly explain this to all the elected officials of this country: it is time to act” to better regulate weapons in America, he launched, denouncing in passing “those who prevent or push back or block laws of common sense about firearms”.
Shortly before him, his vice-president Kamala Harris had launched: “we must find the courage to act”, addressing a Congress powerless or reluctant to legislate despite the litany of massacres.
From the hemicycle of the US Senate, US Senator Chris Murphy castigated that such events, “it does not happen anywhere else than here, in the United States, and it is a choice”.
The elected representative represents the State of Connecticut, forever marked by the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14, 2012, when a 20-year-old man had killed 26 people, including twenty children aged 6 and 7.
“It’s our choice to let this happen,” he said, pleading with his colleagues in Congress to find a compromise to pass an ambitious national law on the issue.
– “Epidemic” –
At present, this seems almost impossible.
In the United States, shootings are a recurring scourge that successive governments have so far been powerless to stem, as many Americans remain very attached to their guns.
30% of adults own at least one firearm.
This is particularly the case in Texas, theater Tuesday of the drama plunging America back into the recurring nightmare of school shootings: it is one of the states where it is the easiest to obtain a weapon.
In 2015, state governor Greg Abbott even said he was “ashamed” that Texas was “only” the second state in terms of firearms purchases.
On Tuesday night, Joe Biden once again called for reforms. “Don’t tell me we can’t do anything about this carnage,” he said of the recurring scourge of gun deaths.
A long-time defender of better arms control, the American president had promised during his campaign to act on this front.
In April 2021, the Democratic leader unveiled a limited plan against what he denounced as an “epidemic” of gun violence. But knowing full well that he is currently not in a position to get Congress to take bold action on this ultra-sensitive subject, due to his very narrow parliamentary majority, Mr. Biden has so far only contented himself with micro-measurements.
No major progress has, for example, been announced on the subject of the verification of the criminal or psychological background of purchasers of individual weapons, which associations have been calling for for years.
“For too long, members of Congress have been talking empty words after these shootings, while opposing all efforts to save lives,” said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Immediate response from the Republican camp, through the voice of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who warned against a “politicization of the debate”.
“Some have called for taking advantage of this to attack the second amendment of law-abiding citizens,” he denounced in reference to the amendment to the Constitution which guarantees the right of the people to hold and wear weapons. “We have seen in the past that this is not effective in preventing this kind of crime,” assured the elected official.