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Senate lawmakers debate how to curb gun violence in wake mass shootings



(WASHINGTON) — As the nation reels from two mass shootings in less than a week, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday is set to address what’s being called “constitutional and common sense actions to curb gun violence.”

Lawmakers preparing for the previously scheduled hearing said they were taken aback by news of the Boulder, Colorado, shootings taking place so soon after the Atlanta shootings last week

“Editing my opening statement for tomorrow’s hearing on gun violence only to look up & see the news reporting six killed by a gunman in Boulder. How many more lives must be lost before we enact the gun violence prevention our country so desperately needs?” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a Judiciary Committee member, tweeted Monday night as news of a mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store broke.

Blumenthal represents the state where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in 2012.

The slim majority that Democrats hold in the Senate presents an opportunity to advance gun control legislation. In early March, the Democrat-controlled House passed two gun control bills, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 that would require universal background checks on all commercial gun sales.

That reform garnered eight Republican votes, representing bipartisan support for an often partisan issue.

President Joe Biden has also thrown his weight behind “common sense” legislation that would prevent gun violence. On the anniversary of the Parkland High School shooting in February, Biden released a statement calling for legislation.

“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” Biden said. “Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said it is time for lawmakers to act.

“In the week leading up to this hearing, two mass shootings have left the nation reeling,” Durbin said in a tweet Monday night. “And it’s not just mass shootings: according to the CDC, on average, 109 Americans lose their lives every day to gun violence. It’s long past time to act on this nation’s gun violence epidemic.”

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