Gun Violence Jake Johnson

Bernie Sanders on July 4th Mass Shooting: ‘Congress Must Do More NOW’

"Today's terrible shooting in Highland Park is the latest reminder of our nation's deadly gun violence epidemic," the Vermont senator said on Monday. "Grocery stores. Schools. Churches. Fourth of July parades."
[Shelly Prevost / CC BY 2.0]

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Monday that Congress must take far more ambitious legislative action to combat the scourge of gun violence in the United States in the wake of the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

“Today’s terrible shooting in Highland Park is the latest reminder of our nation’s deadly gun violence epidemic,” Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. “Grocery stores. Schools. Churches. Fourth of July parades. Places everyone should feel safe. Congress must do more NOW to protect our people.”

The shooting, which left at least six people dead and dozens more wounded, came just over a week after President Joe Biden signed into law a compromise bill that does not contain an assault-weapons ban, universal background checks, and other popular measures that advocates and experts say are needed to meaningfully reduce gun violence.

Passage of the bipartisan legislation was spurred by the horrific massacres in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas in May—among the hundreds of mass shootings that have taken place across the U.S. this year. While some Democratic lawmakers pushed for more aggressive action, the National Rifle Association and the Republican lawmakers it bankrolls objected, as they’ve done for the past decade following mass shooting after mass shooting.

Right-wing Democrats such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have thus far refused to support calls to eliminate or reform the 60-vote filibuster, meaning the Democratic majority needs GOP support to get most legislation through the upper chamber.

“The Bipartisan Gun Law was a first step,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Monday, “but Congress must do more to stop this deadly epidemic and save lives.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) echoed that message, writing on Twitter that it is “our patriotic duty to do more in Congress to keep Americans safe and get guns off our streets.”

“Living in fear of mass shootings is not independence,” Bass wrote. “Living in fear of mass shootings is not freedom.”

Robert Crimo, 22, has been taken into custody as a “person of interest” in the Chicago suburb shooting. Authorities said the gunman, perched on a rooftop near the parade route, used a high-powered rifle to open fire on the crowd gathered in Highland Park to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“Unfortunately, it is the natural consequence of allowing the proliferation and unregulated use of semi-automatic weapons which can be used to shoot indiscriminately into crowds and kill and maim dozens, as happened today,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said in a statement Monday. “This scene has repeated itself over and over again because of the unfettered access to weapons of war.”

“What was supposed to be a celebration of our freedom and unity today turned into yet another bloody massacre,” he added. “This reminds us that until we have the sensible, nationwide regulation of firearms, nowhere and nobody is truly safe.”

While Illinois has some of the most stringent gun laws in the U.S.—and Highland Park banned assault weapons in 2013, overcoming opposition from the Illinois Rifle Association—neighboring states have far more lax regulations in place.

As Everytown for Gun Safety noted in a report published earlier this year, “Illinois is surrounded by states with much weaker laws, and an outsized share of likely trafficked guns recovered in Illinois are originally purchased out-of-state—especially in Indiana, just across the border from Chicago.”

Michael Daly, special correspondent for The Daily Beast, wrote in a column Monday that Highland Park’s assault-rifle ban “offered little protection as long as so many other jurisdictions make assault weapons easy to acquire.”

“Salvador Ramos of Uvalde, Texas, legally acquired two assault rifles—both advertised as ‘modern sporting rifles’—the day after his 18th birthday, and another two days later. He proceeded to murder 19 students and two teachers at a local elementary school,” Daly noted. “In the aftermath, there were calls for an assault weapons ban, but the U.S. Senate could come up with nothing more than an enhanced background check for gun buyers between 18 and 21. A kid too young to drink can still buy all the ‘modern sporting weapons’ he wants.”


18 comments

  1. An AR15 Armalite type Assault Rifle is Not a “Modern Sporting Rifle. It is a 0.223/ 5.56mm, High Velocity Military Rifle. It can have 30 Round Magazine, and causes “Cavitation” Wounds ; same as “Dum Dum” Bullets, or Exploding Bullets . Hitting a Deer or even a Grizzly Bear with an Exploding Bullet is Not Sport. How many more American Children are going to Die Hideous Deaths before Corrupt, Bribed Senators and Congressman Do The Right Thing ?

  2. Dang that Bernie. How many dead Ukrainians in Donbass? How much money does he love to spend on war, messed up bombers, and the like?

    Another rotting squad of progressive persons. Schizophrenia, man. Politicians make El Chapo’s Crew look honest!

    There were 57 Republican House members and Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) to oppose the massive foreign aid package to Ukraine. Every Democrat in Congress voted in favor of the $40 billion war package to supply aid to Ukraine. Every member of the so-called “Squad” and other progressive Democrats voted for the gargantuan payout to Ukraine despite condemning military spending in the past.

    President Joe Biden initially requested $33 billion for Ukraine, but Congress tacked on another $7 billion. The $40 billion is in addition to $14 billion in Ukrainian aid that Congress just approved in March.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted for the $40 million military package for Ukraine. However, AOC called for an amendment to cut the budget of the Pentagon by 10% to “prioritize the very needs of our communities here at home” in September 2021.

    “I rise today to offer Amendment 40, to reduce the Pentagon budget by 10%, Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor. “During a time when our country is withdrawing from foreign wars, when COVID 19 and its fallout is one of the greatest threats that we face, when record levels of unemployment, housing, and healthcare crises are among us, the United States should be reducing its military spending by at least 10% and prioritize the very needs of our communities here at home.”

    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) voted in favor of the package, but had a very different viewpoint in March.

    “A lot of progressives, I feel, have abandoned their principles of being anti-war, anti-broad-based sanctions, anti-harmful policies that not only impact us here in the United States, but inadvertently impact the civilians of our adversary regime,” Omar told Insider in March.

    Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) previously declared that there was “no military solution out of this crisis” and the “flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions.”

    “We continue to watch Russia’s threatening behavior towards Ukraine with alarm. There is no military solution out of this crisis — diplomacy needs to be the focus. We support the Biden administration’s efforts to extend and deepen the dialogue, allowing for robust negotiations and compromise,” the progressive Democrats proclaimed in January. “We have significant concerns that new troop deployments, sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions, and a flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Russia’s strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy.”

    Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald points out in a Substack article, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a “Democracy Now” appearance on Feb. 8. Khanna asserted that sending lethal aid to Ukraine “will only inflame the situation.”

    I certainly join [House progressives] in the concerns of having increased aid, lethal aid, into that area. That will only inflame the situation. I also join them in the concern that we need restraint, that the last thing the American people want is an escalation which could lead us to some long war in Ukraine with Russia, that that’s a very dangerous situation, and no one in this country — or, very few people in this country would want that. There’s a reason President Obama didn’t send lethal aid into Ukraine and had a greater restraint in his approach. So, I do think we should do everything possible not to escalate the situation, while having the moral clarity that Putin is in the wrong in this case.

    In October 2020, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) proclaimed that she is going to “defund the Pentagon.”

    However, this week, Bush bizarrely attempted to justify her vote by highlighting that billions of dollars in military equipment will be sent overseas to private defense contractors.

    “Additionally, at $40 billion, this is an extraordinary amount of military assistance, a large percentage of which will go directly to private defense contractors,” Bush said in a statement. “In the last year alone, the United States will have provided Ukraine with more military aid than any country in the last two decades, and twice as much military assistance as the yearly cost of war in Afghanistan, even when American troops were on the ground. The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique. I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.”

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  3. Bernie is right as usual. But is anyone in power listening to him?
    I hear crickets………

    1. Why isn’t anyone listening to Bernie ? Perhaps it might have something to do with Bernie being such a coward and sellout when he had his chance to dump the D’s (who dumped all over him twice) and ran as a Green presidential candidate instead. BS didn’t want to be Nader-ed – so here we are. Give it up N 13 – BS is and was a total sellout, plain and simple.

  4. P is for politician.
    Double P is for politician pathétique, way beyond his sell-by date; whose hypocrisy evokes only derision, adding insult to the injury he inflicts upon the body politic each time he opens his mouth, in the name of the fraudulent party he kowtows to, and the supercilious system it serves.
    P’s also stands for pernicious perfunctory platitudes…
    Preachers such as he… ugh!

  5. Bernie the yapping Chihuahua.

    Bernie you sold out to the Democrat power elite and the globalists, you are a coward and a toady. People who live in a psychotic society do psychotic things. It’s how it works. When you sell out, when you support immoral globalist wars like in Ukraine, allowing their youth to spill their blood by the river for their endless desire for global domination and greed, you reveal yourself as one of those who create a psychotic society, not someone who fights against one.

  6. Why are you publishing Sanders’ baloney? This is weak left aka establishment.

  7. This is the land making up its own “rules-based order” we are all supposed to follow. None of the huge budget for “defense” is really to defend the USA, which needs real democracy ie the people having some say in their need for safety, healthcare, education, housing, good infrastructure instead of profits for big arms makers and military incursions all over the globe.

  8. These crimes are heartbreaking. But there have been by far more shooting deaths by our militarized police. Police seizure of money and assets far exceeds street crime theft. How about addressing these facts Bernie. Pressuring Congress to take away our gun rights will most assuredly start a war. Is that why the federal govt is now arming ALL branches of government, including our post offices, and stockpiling ammunition?

  9. Sen. Sanders has been in Congress for many years, first as a representative, then a senator. He has seen a number of mass shootings during this time, and has had the power to “do something.” . Millions of guns change hands every year outside of the official market. Reducing gun violence would require addressing the hopelessness and rage that drives so much of it, and we won’t do that.

  10. If Congress doesn’t do something, well, by goody-good-shoes, I’ll clap my mittens together. Really Hard! And keep doing it! And if that doesn’t work, I’ll go sit in the Comfy Chair as an act of sacrifice and protest.

    (fortunately, being a millionaire, and the Senate’s top recipient of defense dollar donations in the 2020 cycle, Bernie has lots of Comfy Chairs from which to choose).

    Bernie is the Approved Lefty because he always loses. Bernie is the approved opponent in the same way the Washington Generals were the approved opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters. Bernie has never won, and never will win, and nobody who knows what is really going on would ever expect Bernie to ever win.

    To prove it …. think back to previous, powerful Chairs of the Senate Budget Cmte. Now consider that the current Chair of the Senate Budget Cmte (aka Bernie) has to beg that the Congress should please, pretty please, do something. Since the Chair of the Senate Budget Cmte usually controls the Almighty Dollar, money in the budget, in the past, they never had to beg anyone for anything, but instead laid down the law. This used to be the most powerful position in the Senate.

    See the difference? That’s the difference between a real competitor, and the Washington Generals. If your plan for survival includes Bernie actually winning, well, I’m sorry for you.

  11. like the nazis sheepdog sanders opposes freedom…in Europe, south amerika only the right wing advocates for gun control—freedom loving Marxists oppose gun control laws

  12. Sanders is politically dead to me after he shamelessly promoted and campaigned for vicious neocon like Hillary who stole his Dems’ nomination in 2016. He self emasculated himself and obliterated any shreds of his credibility might have left.

    He was and is Senator Nobody.

  13. Dumping on Bernie feeds right into the hands of the corporate masters of both parties! Now we have yesterdays man Old Joe anointed by the real sell out Clyburne. It always astounds me how Black politicians consistently sell out their brothers working poor blacks the middle class and progressives both black and white Bernie’s main problem was and is the corporate controlled media. He is censored and ignored by CNN and MSNBC. A third party is the only answer but it looks like the fascists will stop at nothing. Even using Black Corporate Quislings!

    1. Absolutely right on target Jim Harper! All the dumping on Bernie! Who else is out banging the drum for needed changes? Indefatigably so. I’d love a video giving slices of the lives of all the “dumpers” to see how in front of the hordes they are day and day out and/or tirelessly devoting their energies in the unglamorous, but required grind of organizing efforts for rousting the populace to claim their agency in halting the disintegration. Then there’re the ones still caught in perfectionism who stamp their feet and won’t play because Bernie is not perfect. Glory, I wonder if they hate themselves too when their inevitable feet of clay betray their mortal flaws. Alcoholic thinking that. Having self and others be “all good” and if they aren’t then they’re “all bad.” Fallen into and deserving the hell of hate. As Jung acknowledged psychological maturity is not for sissies.

  14. “Dumping on Bernie”? You think!
    It is because the “corporate masters of both parties” have ruled the roost, unchallenged, for so many years now, that so many past leading criminals of both parties have never even been indicted, let alone dumped in prison!
    Perhaps your wisdom, imparted more forcefully into “Bernie’s” deaf ears, prior to the 2016 election circus, about “(a) third party is the only answer” may better have imbued him with the ‘cojones’ to break with the democratic fanatics he has been subservient to all his anti-community leanings’ years – comfortably ensconced in Congress, to form that third party the 13 million of his swooning, supporting fans, at the time, would surely have been brave enough to vote for.
    He, like all of us ‘lucky Americans’, is the duplicity contained in the spilt milk of the political rhetoric he so masterfully fed us on, and which we are all still drowning in today.

    1. Just think of Obama, Americas first ‘black president’, so called; a person for all of the people.
      “Yes, we can”! Got an overwhelming mandate for change. His first day in office, with all 3 branches of government on our side, he duplicitously sold us out to the corporate banks. “Too big to fail”!
      And what did we do? We immediately shut our eyes, held our breath, and carried on blindly believing, regardless.
      Does mendacity have a particular skin hue?
      Like most of them before him, when he first came into office, he was a mere pauper, having only $2 million to his name. When he left office, he’s a multi-millionaire with $70 million to his name (in community of property of course, anything else would be ‘identity politics’ unfair).
      And the orchestra plays on, adrift on the international ocean, while the deck chairs are being rearranged by the flunkies who will drown with the rest of us.
      As Chomsky so emphatically reminded us, just the other day, the doomsday clock is merrily ticking the remaining seconds away, moved, while no one is even paying attention.

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