Biden renews push for greater restrictions on guns after Texas school shooting, but analysts say Senate still looks unlikely to deliver

President Joe Biden reiterated his call for new gun laws Tuesday night as he delivered a speech at the White House following a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

However, gun control bills continue to face a difficult path in the 50-50 Senate.

“We’ve seen time and time again that tragedy does not bring unity, but rather partisan reinforcement,” Ben Koltun, director of research at Beacon Policy Advisors, said in an email to MarketWatch on Wednesday.

“What should happen is a real commitment from both Democrats and Republicans. Leadership would be needed on both sides to boost bipartisan efforts. But Schumer is preparing legislation passed by the House that has no chance of getting 60 votes.” , Koltun added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat.

“Republicans don’t want any compromise. I don’t see anything happening.”

A major hurdle in the 50-50 Senate is its filibuster rule, in which 60 votes are needed to end the debate on most articles, so the minority party can slow down the efforts of the majority.

Key Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told reporters Tuesday afternoon, “It makes no sense why we can’t do common sense things” that “would prevent that from happening,” but reiterated that it doesn’t. t supports obstruction removal.

In 2013, a bipartisan background check bill, drafted by Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, did not move forward due to a Senate vote of 54-46. produced after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Related: Texas Elementary School shooting prompts Senator Chris Murphy to ask lawmakers “What are we doing? Why are we here?

Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, also spoke out against the prospect of additional federal restrictions on firearms, saying “there will be no new laws.”

“Modest background checks, with the support of nearly 90% of Americans and virtually every member of the police community, can make a difference, but there are simply not enough votes in the Senate to act,” he said. Valliere on a note Wednesday. But he added that arms control could now become a major issue in the November midterm elections.

“It may fuel high turnout, just as overthrowing Roe v. Wade may also motivate the Democrat base,” he said.

I’ll see: The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade could increase Democratic turnout in the midterm elections

In his Tuesday night speech, Biden said it was “time to act.”

“For those who obstruct, delay or block common-sense weapons laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget,” the president said.

Read more: Biden says “we have to act” on gun control after the Texas school shooting

Biden also called for new gun laws a week ago while speaking in Buffalo, NY, following a mass shooting there.

“We can keep assault weapons out of our streets. We’ve done that before,” the president told Buffalo last week, referring to a 10-year federal ban on assault weapons, which helped negotiated, and which expired in 2004.

Speaking to reporters at Buffalo Airport a week ago, Biden said he needs to convince Congress to go back to what he passed years ago, adding that it will be “very difficult,” but he will not give up.

Biden has often advocated for gun control measures since his takeover, and his actions have included a new rule aimed at ghost weapons, which are firearms that can be made at home from kits and which are increasingly used in crime.

Beacon’s Koltun stressed Wednesday that an upcoming one-week break for the Senate could hamper any push for new arms restrictions.

“Congress is about to enter Memorial Day recess. Nothing will happen soon. More time means more pressure and more time away from tragedy gives more room to return to partisan discussion points on guns,” he said. .

Ahead of the holiday season, Biden’s new candidate for director of the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Steve Dettelbach, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Last year, the White House withdrew an ATF candidate in favor of gun control after opposition to the Senate.

“I can’t think of a better way to support law enforcement, reject hatred and extremism, and keep America safe from violent crime than the committee and the entire Senate to confirm Steve Dettelbach as director of the ATF, “said Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio during Wednesday’s committee hearing.

Shares of arms companies rose on Wednesday as the broad market advanced.

The RGR shares of Sturm Ruger & Co.
+ 5.28%
rose 4% but has fallen 12% in the last 12 months, and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. SWBI,
+ 9.83%
it shot up 8% but lost 23% in 12 months, while the S&P 500 rose 0.7% and fell 5% in 12 months.

Now read: Gun control groups respond to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas: “Schools should be safe sanctuaries for our children, not where they’re going to die.”

This is an updated version of a report that was first published on May 17, 2022.

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