US Congress mulls action on gun control following mass shootings | Gun Violence News

Washington, DC – Mark Barden has seen moments like this come and go – occasions when he thought the US Congress would possibly lastly go gun reforms to thwart extra mass killings.

However though none of those efforts have succeeded, Barden, who misplaced his seven-year-old son Daniel within the 2012 Sandy Hook bloodbath, stays optimistic that the time is close to. A latest spate of mass shootings within the nation, and particularly the tragic killing of 19 college students and two academics at an elementary faculty in Uvalde, Texas, have to be the catalyst for reforms, he advised Al Jazeera.

“This can be a essential second,” stated Barden, who cofounded the Sandy Hook Promise Motion Fund to push for options to stop future mass shootings. “We now have to as a nation collectively encourage them, demand them, implore them to step up, do their job, as a result of that’s what they have been elected to do.”

However whereas the Uvalde taking pictures and different latest tragedies have sparked new bipartisan efforts to seek out settlement on gun-control measures, specialists say any proposal must be restricted in scope to go each homes of Congress. The chances of significant reform are thus slim.

Ongoing talks on gun laws amongst a gaggle of Republican and Democratic senators aren’t considering main initiatives, similar to banning assault rifles or elevating the minimal age to purchase one. As a substitute, they’re targeted on narrower points, similar to “purple flag” legal guidelines, which permit for the removing of firearms from anybody who could pose a hazard to themselves or others. Modest reforms to background checks and elevated spending on psychological well being and faculty security are additionally underneath dialogue.

“That might not be sufficient, and that will not be acceptable to Democrats,” Democratic strategist Maria Cardona advised Al Jazeera.

Senators concerned within the talks have reported progress in direction of a doable settlement, however acknowledged much more work is forward of them.

“We’re making fast progress towards a common sense bundle that would garner assist from each Republicans and Democrats,” Republican Senator Susan Collins stated in a press release final Wednesday.

Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator within the talks, stated an settlement have to be reached inside the subsequent 5 days due to a deadline set by Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer.

INTERACTIVE Mass shootings in the US on the rise
(Al Jazeera)

“It’s frankly a take a look at of democracy,” Murphy advised CNN on Sunday. “It’s a take a look at of the federal authorities as as to if we are able to ship at a second of simply fierce anxiousness amongst the American public. So we’re nearer than ever earlier than. Let’s see if we land it.”

Main hurdle within the Senate

Within the wake of the Uvalde bloodbath, polls present that People overwhelmingly assist main gun reforms. A complete of 88 % strongly or considerably assist background checks for all gun gross sales, together with these at gun exhibits, and 67 % strongly or considerably assist a ban on assault-style weapons, in accordance with a Politico/Morning Seek the advice of survey carried out on Could 25.

“We’ll must see what the present group of senators produces and if it could actually go. The sense is on Capitol Hill that the extra slim and particular, the higher – however we’ve to attend and see,” Republican analyst and onetime Capitol Hill aide Doug Heye advised Al Jazeera.

On the similar time, the Home of Representatives is taking over main laws, together with provisions to boost the age to purchase sure semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, and to limit the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines – however such measures don’t have any likelihood of approval within the Senate.

Gun-control proponents level to the rising variety of mass shootings within the US as proof of the necessity for a serious legislative overhaul. In line with the nonprofit analysis group Gun Violence Archive, there have been greater than 240 mass shootings this yr, greater than 30 of which have taken place for the reason that Could 24 Uvalde tragedy.

US President Joe Biden made a forceful argument for reforms, together with a ban on assault rifles, in an handle to the nation final Thursday, saying: “For God’s sake, how far more carnage are we prepared to simply accept? … It’s time for the Senate to do one thing.”

With Schumer decided to carry a vote on the difficulty quickly, Cardona famous: “That vote will both be a vote on a compromise invoice, which might be nice, or it is going to be a vote on a invoice that Republicans block – not a superb search for them going into the midterms and [amid] the outcries from People to do one thing.”

For a invoice to get by way of the Senate, it should win the assist of not only a majority of senators, however of at the very least 60 – a serious hurdle that explains why latest efforts have failed. Since Democrats management simply 50 Senate seats, any gun-control measure wants the backing of at the very least 10 Republicans, most of whom oppose main modifications, citing the necessity to defend Second Modification rights.

Opponents have additionally argued that stiffer gun-control legal guidelines wouldn’t stop mass shootings, as a substitute pointing to points similar to psychological well being and faculty security. Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell has stated the latter two are “what we have to goal”, noting final Thursday: “I’m hopeful and optimistic that we are able to [pass bipartisan legislation], however I, like most of you, consider this must be executed and have to be executed in step with the Structure.”

Nonetheless, Barden of the Sandy Hook Promise Motion Fund holds out hope for gun reforms, saying Republican legislators have to keep in mind the general public temper. Within the meantime, he’s persevering with his advocacy work, together with educating college students methods to look out for warning alerts that would presage a college taking pictures. Extra coaching inside communities is required to assist handle the plague of gun violence, he stated.

“We are able to stop loads of these tragedies from occurring,” Barden stated. “There are at all times warning indicators, and that’s what drives my work.”

US Congress: Rashida Tlaib introduces Nakba resolution | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Congresswoman says measure goals to recognise pressured displacement of Palestinians throughout institution of Israeli state.

Washington, DC – US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has mentioned she launched a decision to recognise the Palestinian Nakba, a time period used to explain the pressured displacement of tons of of hundreds of Palestinians within the lead-up to the institution of the state of Israel in 1948.

Tlaib mentioned she launched the decision within the US Home of Representatives on Monday, a day after Palestinians marked the Nakba’s 74th anniversary.

“The Nakba is well-documented and continues to play out as we speak,” Tlaib, who’s of Palestinian descent, wrote on Twitter. “We should acknowledge that the humanity of Palestinians is being denied when people refuse to acknowledge the struggle crimes and human rights violations in apartheid Israel.”

The Democratic congresswoman mentioned the decision is cosponsored by her fellow progressives Betty McCollum, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Though it’s unlikely to cross in an overwhelmingly pro-Israel Home, Palestinian rights advocates had been fast to hail the measure as “historic”.

The Institute for Center East Understanding (IMEU), a assume tank that helps Palestinian rights, thanked Tlaib for “giving voice to this actuality, and highlighting the ache and injustice Palestinians have suffered”.

“Throughout Israel’s creation, almost 75% of the Palestinian inhabitants was ethnically cleansed from Palestine and greater than 400 Palestinian villages destroyed,” IMEU mentioned in a sequence of tweets. “These actions had been intentionally deliberate and carried out by Zionist militias with the intention to steal Palestinian land.”

Hundreds of thousands of survivors of the Nakba – disaster in Arabic – and their descendants proceed to reside in refugee camps within the West Financial institution and Gaza, in addition to in neighbouring Arab nations.

The Nakba is never ever mentioned in mainstream US politics, as Israel has loved widespread help from legislators and successive presidents from each main events for many years.

Israel receives $3.8bn in US army support yearly, and this yr Washington added one other $1bn in help to “replenish” Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system after a Could 2021 Gaza battle.

Nonetheless, late in 2016, within the last days of Barack Obama’s presidency, then-Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the Nakba in remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

“When Israel celebrates its seventieth anniversary in 2018, the Palestinians will mark a really completely different anniversary: 70 years since what they name the ‘Nakba’ or disaster,” he mentioned on the time.

Palestinians internationally commemorated Nakba Day on Sunday with rallies that emphasised the proper of return for Palestinian refugees. Additionally they demanded justice for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by Israeli forces within the West Financial institution final week.

On Monday, the US Marketing campaign for Palestinian Rights, an advocacy group, referred to as Tlaib’s decision a “historic second”.

“For much too lengthy, the Palestinian expertise has been ignored by Washington, and Palestinians have been gaslit for attempting to inform their story. Thanks [Tlaib] for giving voice to this actuality, and highlighting the ache and injustice Palestinians have suffered,” the group wrote on Twitter.

“We should shift US overseas coverage away from enabling Israel’s ongoing displacement of Palestinians with army funding—and towards accountability,” it added.

Shireen Abu Akleh: Who said what in US Congress on slain reporter | Freedom of the Press News

Washington, DC – In a United States Congress that’s largely unconditional in its help for Israel, many lawmakers have condemned the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot by Israeli forces on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, few Congress members talked about Israel by title because the perpetrator of the lethal incident, whereas some legislators who serve in main roles on overseas coverage and press freedom panels ignored the taking pictures altogether.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, has been essentially the most outspoken.

The progressive lawmaker, who’s of Palestinian descent, referred to as for a moment of silence for the slain journalist on the ground of the Home of Representatives on Wednesday and condemned the killing in a number of statements and media appearances.

“An American journalist clearly marked with press credentials was murdered. Doing and saying nothing simply allows extra killings,” she wrote in a tweet directed at President Joe Biden, invoking US navy help to Israel, which totals $3.8bn annually.

“Whether or not you’re Palestinian, American, or not, being killed with US funding should cease,” Tlaib stated.

In a TV interview with Al Jazeera afterward Wednesday, she additionally referred to as for a US-led probe into the incident.

“We have to examine, ourselves, the killing of an American citizen. Anyone that was on the market being a guardian of fact and doing her job was murdered by an apartheid authorities that we proceed to fund with unconditional help,” she stated.

Abu Akleh was a US citizen – a reality emphasised by a number of American officers.

Congressman Mark Pocan, a key Home progressive, additionally urged limiting US aid to Israel.

“Restrictions on help could also be crucial if human rights and universally acceptable norms can’t be adopted,” he wrote on Twitter.

The congressional statements on the killing of Abu Akleh got here from Democratic Get together lawmakers, most of whom are a part of the social gathering’s progressive wing.

Al Jazeera was not capable of finding any assertion by Republican legislators denouncing the killing.

Ilhan Omar, a left-wing, Muslim-American member of the Home, was unambiguous in blaming Israel for the Palestinian journalist’s killing.

“She was killed by the Israeli navy, after making her presence as a journalist clearly recognized,” she wrote on Twitter. “We offer Israel with $3.8 billion in navy help yearly with no restrictions. What’s going to it take for accountability for these human rights violations?”

Omar’s fellow Muslim lawmaker Andre Carson additionally referred to as on the US authorities to “maintain the Israeli authorities accountable for this and all different acts of unjust violence it commits”.

A number of high Democrats joined progressive members of the social gathering in paying tribute to Abu Akleh and calling for an investigation, however they didn’t level the finger at Israel.

“The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an horrific tragedy,” Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of Israel, wrote on Twitter.

“A radical, goal investigation is required now. Congress is dedicated to the protection of press freedoms worldwide and safety of each journalist, notably these in battle zones.”

Senator Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat and outspoken backer of sturdy US-Israel ties, stated he was “disturbed” by the killing of Abu Akleh.

“Abu Akleh’s loss of life is an assault on a journalist who was sporting her press gear,” he stated in an announcement. “No journalist needs to be killed whereas merely doing their job. I strongly condemn her loss of life and name for an impartial and thorough investigation into the incident.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen additionally urged an impartial probe into the incident.

So did Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “Veteran American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was merely doing her job when she was shot and killed early this morning,” he stated in an announcement on Wednesday.

“Her heartbreaking loss of life needs to be thought of an assault on freedom of the press in all places. There should be an intensive investigation and full accountability for these accountable.”

Adam Schiff, chair of the Home Intelligence Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press, additionally referred to as the fatal shooting of the Palestinian-American journalist a “horrible tragedy”.

“The Israeli navy should conduct an intensive and goal investigation into Abu Akleh’s loss of life, and be clear about its findings,” Schiff stated in an announcement. “My prayers are along with her household, along with her colleague, Ali Al-Samudi, who was additionally wounded, and with members of the press in all places who threat their lives to deliver us the reality.”

Palestinian rights advocates have rejected calls by US officers for Israel to conduct its personal investigation, arguing that the Israeli authorities shouldn’t be trusted to carry itself accountable for alleged warfare crimes.

Steve Chabot, the Republican co-chair of the Press Freedom Caucus, has not launched any formal assertion concerning the killing on his congressional webpage or social media accounts. His workplace didn’t return Al Jazeera’s request for remark by time of publication.

Congressman Andy Levin, a Jewish-American consultant from Michigan, who’s going through off in a major in opposition to fellow Democratic incumbent Haley Stevens after redistricting, stated he was “horrified” by the killing of Abu Akleh.

“Globally, in locations as numerous as Palestine, Mexico and Russia, the worldwide group should come collectively to defend the rights of the free press,” he wrote in a sequence of tweets.

Stevens, who’s backed by quite a few pro-Israel teams, together with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has stated nothing concerning the incident on her social media accounts or on her congressional web site.

Debbie Dingell, one other Michigan legislator, who represents a big Arab-American group, stated press freedom is “paramount in any democracy”.

The chairs of the Home and Senate overseas coverage panels didn’t deal with the incident in formal statements. The Home Overseas Affairs Committee shared Pelosi’s put up on the killing through its Twitter account.

The deadly taking pictures of Abu Akleh coincided with a busy week in Washington, which is preoccupied with home points, together with a child formula shortage and a failed attempt to cross laws defending abortion rights.

Ro Khanna, a Home progressive representing a district in California, wrote in a social media put up, “The killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is devastating and a blatant assault on the liberty of the press.”

New York Consultant Yvette Clarke stated the killing is “but one more reason why we want a path to a two-state resolution within the area”.

Congresswoman Marie Newman, who typically criticises Israeli abuses in opposition to Palestinians, stated she was “extraordinarily involved by stories that Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces whereas sporting a press vest and reporting within the West Financial institution”.

“We should shield the press and maintain these accountable for this heinous crime,” she wrote on Twitter.

Congresswoman Cori Bush, a progressive supporter of Palestinian rights, condemned the “unacceptable assault”.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who has championed Palestinian human rights in Congress and launched payments to limit US help to Israel, additionally stated the killing should be “condemned and investigated”.

US Congress revives WWII-era weapons programme for Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

‘Lend-Lease’ laws handed in Home of Representatives will make it simpler for US to ship weapons on to Kyiv.

The US Congress has handed lend-lease laws that can make it simpler to export army tools to Ukraine, reviving a World Struggle II-era US weapons financing programme.

The US Home of Representatives overwhelmingly backed the “Ukraine Democracy Protection Lend-Lease Act of 2022” on Thursday by a vote of 417 to 10, sending the invoice to President Joe Biden for his signature. The invoice had sailed by way of the Senate with unanimous assist.

The measure revives a World Struggle II-era association that allowed Washington to lend or lease army tools to Nice Britain and different allies at little value. The brand new plan will assist these affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, together with Poland and different Jap European nations.

Two months into the battle, members of Congress mentioned they hoped the act would work because it did eight many years in the past by permitting US corporations to rapidly resupply associate nations with out having to clear bureaucratic hurdles.

“In the present day the Ukrainian persons are standing on the entrance traces within the combat for democracy and towards tyranny, and the US wants to offer them with each doable measure of humanitarian and army assist,” mentioned Consultant Mary Homosexual Scanlon, a Democrat.

Airmen and civilians from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron palletize ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a foreign military sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
The US is transport superior anti-tank rockets, aerial drone weapons and ammunition to Jap Europe for distribution to Ukraine [File: Mauricio Campino/US Air Force via AP]

The lend-lease financing association permits the US to provide equipment to Ukraine now, with only a technical requirement to pay at some later date, primarily giving it to the Kyiv authorities.

“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable energy and bravado, and we should once more function the arsenal of democracy and guarantee they’ve the complete vary of sources essential to defend their sovereignty,” Republican Senator John Cornyn, a lead sponsor of the invoice within the Senate, mentioned in a press release.

Earlier within the day, President Biden requested Congress to approve a further $33bn in aid for Ukraine, together with greater than $20bn for weapons, ammunition and different army help.

Biden’s request consists of $8.5bn in direct financial help to the Ukrainian authorities and $3bn in humanitarian assist. It’s meant to cowl the battle effort’s wants by way of September, the tip of the US authorities’s fiscal yr.

“We’d like this invoice to assist Ukraine in its combat for freedom,” Biden mentioned on the White Home on Thursday. “The price of this combat – it’s not low cost – however caving to aggression goes to be extra pricey.”

Congress had beforehand approved $13.6bn in army and humanitarian assist for Ukraine, together with $3bn for the US European Command operations bolstering American troops within the area and $3.5bn to replenish US shares of apparatus despatched to Ukraine.