In the wake of a shooting at the The Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill that has left 4 people dead, Americans again are faced with a familiar story.
“Pennsylvania did not enact significant gun laws in 2017, maintaining its C grade with positive and negative firearm bills still pending,” according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The center’s “Gun Law State Scorecard” rates the state as having the 13th strongest gun protection laws in the nation. “Pennsylvania could raise its grade and save lives by requiring background checks on private sales of long guns, not just handguns, allowing local governments to regulate firearms, and requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms.”
In November 2017, in a baptist church Sutherland Springs, 26 people were killed and 20 were injured by a shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while being pursued by police, used an assault-type rifle, despite receiving a “bad conduct” discharge from the U.S. Air Force for domestic violence. He should have been prohibited from buying a gun under a 1996 amendment to the Federal Gun Control Act.
On Oct. 1, 2017 at a country music concert in Las Vegas, 58 people were killed and 515 were injured. In June 2016, 49 people killed and more than 58 wounded.at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
The state of mind of the shooter is unclear. Large majorities in both parties continue to favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns, barring gun purchases by people on federal no-fly or watch lists, and background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows, according to research carried out this year by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Despite all of the gun violence in the U.S. in recent years, there is still strong support for gun owners. Democrats largely oppose proposals to shorten waiting periods for those who want to buy guns legally, but Republicans are divided.
Democrats largely oppose proposals to shorten waiting periods for those who want to buy guns legally (25% favor, 74% oppose), but Republicans are divided (51% favor, 48% oppose), Pew found. Some 77% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats support background checks for private sales at gun shows, while 56% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats support a federal database to track gun sales. One theory for the difference in opinion: A majority of Republicans (56%) say there would be “less crime” if more Americans owned guns versus 51% of Democrats.