What Will Congress Do About Gun Control In Light Of Orlando Shooting?

The outrage over lax gun control in the U.S. has been put in the spotlight once again following the shooting inside a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, which killed 50 people. It was dubbed as the worst attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

The gunman was identified as Omar Mateen, 29, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, who was already on the radar of the FBI two to three years ago for potential radicalization. He went into the Pulse gay nightclub armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a pistol around 2 a.m. of Sunday and pulled the trigger.

Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat) said that mass shootings in the U.S. will continue if nothing is done to institute stricter gun control in the country.

“Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence,” he said. “This doesn’t have to happen but this epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing – again.”

In a news report, USA Today reported that there was a precedent for countries that instituted strict gun control laws and also a decline in shooting-related crimes.

Australia, for example, enacted rigid laws on firearms following the worst shooting in its history when 35 were killed in Port Arthur, Tasmania, on April 28, 1996, at the hands of a rampaging gunman. Because of the program to buy back guns, the incidents of firearm crimes and suicides dropped to 59 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

Then there’s Scotland, which imposed restrictions on civilians owning firearms following the massacre of 16 children by a lone gunman on March 13, 1996 before committing suicide. For its part, Britain enacted The Firearms Act 1988 after the Hungerford massacre, which laid to waste the lives of 16 people.

The CNN report, as quoted by USA Today, noted a decline in shooting-related crimes to 44 percent in 2010 and 2011 as a result of gun control.

The Reuters report, however, said that gun control measures may have a hard time passing through Congress because of the lobby by groups such as the National Rifle Association, as well as the fact that a high number of Republicans have opposed any proposal to that effect.

Advocates tried to pass anti-gun laws in 2013, but failed.

“Opinion polls find that Americans are less enthusiastic about banning assault weapons than other types of gun restrictions, such as expanded background checks,” Reuters said.

Meanwhile, President Obama mentioned something about the need for gun control in his speech in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting.

“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub,” he said. “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

That task will probably be left on the shoulders of the incoming president. Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been advocating for a stricter gun control in the country.

She said in a statement that legislators should work together to keep the guns away from criminals and terrorists. “This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.”

For his part, Donald Trump is a member of the National Rifles Association and has been espousing about the Second Amendment and even promised that its principle will be protected once he becomes president.

[Photo by AP Photo/David Goldman]