The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

No Real Gun Control

Jun 20, 2022

On June 11 there were demonstrations and rallies in hundreds of cities and towns all over the country calling for stronger gun control laws. These actions were triggered by the mass shootings at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Thousands rallied in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Antonio, and hundreds of other places.

Under the pressure of these actions, a bi-partisan group of 10 Republican and 10 Democratic U.S. senators said they would propose new gun control measures. This was hailed as a momentous development since no bi-partisan Federal gun control legislation had been proposed for many years.

The bi-partisan group has now announced a “framework” for its proposals. So, what are they?

The legislation would encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws and expand background checks for people under 21 years old buying firearms. It promises billions of dollars for mental health treatment, most of which will go to huge pharmaceutical companies for profitably-priced drugs. But there are still differences on the exact language of the first two provisions.

“Red flag” laws now exist only in 19 states and the District of Columbia. These laws allow family members and law enforcement to ask a court to confiscate or bar an individual from having firearms if they are determined to be a threat to themselves or others. Some senators object to this money not being available to states that now have no such laws.

The “boyfriend loophole” is also a bone of contention. Currently, people who have been convicted of domestic violence are barred from owning a firearm. But this only applies to a person who has married, lived with, or has a child with the victim. The gap in this policy is called the “boyfriend loophole” because it does not apply to people who are dating but don’t fall into the other categories. Senators disagree on which dating partners the restriction should apply to.

It’s not clear at this time if these outstanding issues can be resolved and these bi-partisan gun law changes approved. But even if these provisions are all approved, it will change very little in relation to gun control. It’s clear that this whole “momentous” gun control effort has been nothing but a theatrical performance by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to make it look like they really are trying to do something to reduce gun violence.