Speaking to CNN in the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, 17-year-old David Hogg, who survived the shooting, issued a powerful plea to politicians to move beyond “thoughts and prayers” and take meaningful policy action to reduce America’s sky-high volume of gun deaths.
“Please!” he said, “We are children. You guys are, like, the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done.”
Powerful plea from a student who survived the Parkland shooting, David Hogg: “Please! We are children. You guys are, like...the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done.” pic.twitter.com/UcTNungORp— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) February 15, 2018
“This is the 18th one this year,” Hogg noted, referring to mass shootings. “That’s unacceptable.”
The truth, obviously, is that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that anything will be done. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the United States Senate, and even if two or three moderates could be tempted to cross the aisle and endorse a modest gun control measure, as Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and a couple of others did in 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, you’d need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, which is very hard.
But even if you did overcome a filibuster, even a bill that had majority support in the US House of Representatives wouldn’t come to the floor for a vote because of the “Hastert Rule” principle. Only bills that are supported by a majority of House Republicans get a vote. And you can’t question the courage of GOP convictions here. The House Republican caucus was itself victimized by a shooter last year in an incident that severely injured Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), but that did nothing to alter Republicans’ sincere belief that an abnormally high level of gun deaths is a price worth paying for strong gun rights.
And then, of course, there’s President Trump, who has an unusually close relationship with the National Rifle Association (despite his previous calls for an assault weapons ban) even by the standards of GOP presidents, because the group was one of the main pillars of the institutional Republican Party that stood by him even in the lowest moments of his 2016 presidential campaign. Indeed, the NRA is so firmly aligned with Trump that the FBI is now even looking into whether it was used as a cutout through which Russian money was sent to the Trump campaign.