More than 100 days have passed since mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and a nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio, left 31 dead over a span of hours on a weekend. Amid the shock and horror that followed, President Donald Trump started out saying all the right things.
He promised meaningful proposals like extending background checks and promoting “red flag” laws that allow judges to temporarily take guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. “Politically,” he said, “good, bad, or indifferent. I don’t care.”
Spoiler alert: He does care about politics.
Latest death toll in shootings
After pushback from gun rights supporters, Trump put the issue on ice. Meanwhile, the killings continue unabated. Five students were shot, two of them killed, at a high school in Santa Clarita, California, last Thursday. Ten people were shot, four of them fatally, at a football-viewing party in Fresno on Sunday. And three were shot and killed Monday at a Walmart in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Family members watch as police investigate a shooting in a Walmart parking lot on Nov. 18, 2019, in Duncan, Oklahoma.
OPPOSING VIEW: More ‘gun safety’ laws aren’t the answer to ‘gun violence’
For a while after Dayton and El Paso, it looked like this time might be different. At the urging of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, the White House began assembling the promised proposals and opened negotiations on Capitol Hill for new legislation.
Expanding background checks was overwhelmingly popular. As if to tragically underscore the need for reform, a gunman who failed a background check at a firearm store bypassed the system by buying an AR-style rifle through a private sale. He opened fire with the weapon on Aug. 31 while driving through West Texas, killing seven people before being shot to death by police.