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Endless carnage, endless excuses: This time, Trump and Republicans blame Beto O’Rourke’s rhetoric to avoid considering background checks legislation

2019-09-19

The Republican search for reasons it’s just too hard to pass gun laws 90% of Americans support has found a new scapegoat: a Democratic presidential candidate who no longer holds any elected office.

Referencing former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s “hell yes" debate pledge to get AR-15s and other weapons out of circulation via mandatory buybacks, President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning, “Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal.”

Hogwash. Democrats in the House and Senate want universal background checks, not gun confiscations. Some of them want a prospective ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, not gun confiscations. Others want tougher federal laws wresting firearms from domestic abusers, not gun confiscations.

It is Republicans, ever under the NRA’s thumb, who refuse to budge on any of this and are desperate to distract the public from their intransigence.

Careless criminals leave fingerprints at crime scenes. After repeated promises to lead, so cowardly has Trump become on this issue, so afraid to expend any political capital, he refuses to put his prints on a plan to make background checks universal.

Early Wednesday, Trump’s Justice Department was shopping the cursory outlines of what looked like a way forward. By late Wednesday, the White House was already distancing itself from the proposal.

So far this year, America has suffered 301 mass shootings, or incidents in which four people were shot excluding the shooter. That’s more than one a day. Overall, more than 10,000 people have died in more than 40,000 shooting incidents.

While Republicans fiddle, America bleeds.