A bipartisan group of US senators have been discussing and debating gun control legislation. Democratic members of Congress and former members are heralding it as a legislative milestone.
Senator Schumer is “pleased that, for the first time in nearly 30 years, Congress is on the path to take meaningful action to address gun violence.” Senator Murphy hailed the breakthrough agreement as “the first in 30 years.” Gabby Giffords says the measure will “be the first time in 30 years that Congress takes a major action on gun safety.”
Is this really the first time any action has been taken on guns in 30 years? No, that isn’t true. First, it’s obvious to me that every Democrat is faithfully reading off the talking point that this is “the first time in 30 years.”
Second, I wonder if these Democrats forgot all the gun legislation passed five years ago. For example, Senator Murphy explained to the press that the 2017 bipartisan gun legislation was “an important milestone that shows real compromise can be made on the issue of guns.”
He hasn’t forgotten. Charles Cooke refers to this in a recent commentary as “Gun Controller’s Tactical Amnesia.” This is a game certain members of Congress play with us. He even reminds us ABC News proclaimed back in 2008 that the congressional response to the massacre at Virginia Tech was the “first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years.”
If you have been paying attention, here is the pattern. First, use a horrific shooting to advocate for stricter gun-control laws. Second, proclaim the bill as an unprecedented and significant breakthrough. Third, pass the bill into law. Then wait a few years to restart the cycle.
Even if the proposed legislation is passed, expect that five years from now we will be given another bill that will be a breakthrough “for the first time in 35 years.”