Murray said that “We’re in a holding pattern,”, adding that “it is time for Joe Biden to bring the families and survivors to the table.”
Gun prevention advocates were quick to point out that there have been eight, not two, mass shootings in the past eight days, citing a shooting in Chicago on March 14 that left 15 shot and two dead and five others in states from Texas to California.
“Someone who loses their life in Chicago is just as valuable as someone who loses their life in Boulder, Colorado, and the pain and the trauma is no different,” said Greg Jackson, who leads national advocacy for the social justice group, Community Justice Action Fund. “This is not just an inner-city problem, this is not just a mass shooting problem, but this crisis is touching folks in so many unique ways across the country.”
As Biden looks to Congress, quick action is far from certain. Last week, the president opened the door to incremental filibuster reform but he has not said whether he would support carve-outs for specific pieces of legislation like expanding background checks. And for some Democrats, the recent spate of shootings is caused to revisit that reluctance to embrace more far-reaching reform.
“When you have a Senate that can put 55 or 56 votes on the board and still not pass a bill there’s something wrong,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “I’ve long been of the opinion that if the majority of our elected officials favor something we should be able to pass that. You can certainly justify different levels of support required for passing bills but I just think it’s dangerous to put that rule across the board.”
Off of Capitol Hill, activists are gearing up to put more pressure on lawmakers. Shannon Watts, the founder of the grassroots group Moms Demand Action, said the White House must start directing its agencies to act. “There is not a corner of the Biden administration or the Justice Department that could not be doing something right this moment to address gun violence,” Watts said.
And Igor Volsky, executive director of the advocacy group Guns Down America, said that barring action from the White House soon, gun violence survivors “are going to enter a more activist phase.”
“I hear from survivors of gun violence every single day,” he said. “They are frustrated that this administration, which ran on tightening gun laws, has yet to announce their plan for doing that.”