A Texas state representative from Houston laughed off the thoughts and prayers being offered by the pro-gun community in the wake of the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School Friday morning.
“Y’all been sending thoughts and prayers for two freaking decades now,” tweeted Representative Gene Wu (D-Houston). “Time to try something new.”
Y'all been sending thoughts and prayers for two freaking decades now. Time to try something new.
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) May 18, 2018
Rep. Wu was likely referring to remarks by Republican lawmakers with A+ ratings like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), and others who offer “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings, but who routinely vote down gun reform measures like expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.
Saddened by the deadly shooting in Virginia this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 26, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of last night's shooting in Charleston https://t.co/GCtPg7yQ1r
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 18, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and everyone in Oak Creek who has been impacted by this tragic act of violence.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 5, 2012
Thoughts and prayers with those affected by the tragic #MandalayBay attack Sunday night.
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) October 2, 2017
Ohio's thoughts and prayers are with the people of Colorado today.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) July 20, 2012
Since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in April of 1999, there have been approximately 220 school shootings across the United States, according to The Washington Post. After some of the more heinous school shootings, like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 that left 20 children and six teachers dead, gun reform advocates pushed for new legislation for universal background checks, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and preventing domestic abusers from obtaining weapons, but to no avail.
However, public opinion has been shifting in favor of gun reform this year, particularly after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and teachers. A Quinnipiac poll released after the Parkland shooting showed near-unanimous approval among both Democrats and Republicans for universal background checks, and more than two-thirds of all respondents backing an assault weapons ban.
Latest Quinnipiac poll: https://t.co/2gk74zrqAg
• 66% of Americans support stricter gun laws
• 67% support assault weapons ban
• 83% favor mandatory waiting period for gun purchases
• 97% back universal background checks
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 21, 2018
As of this writing, no legislation has been approved at the federal level to implement any of the gun reform measures mentioned in the Quinnipiac poll. However, multiple city governments and state legislatures have taken legislative action to address gun violence in their communities.
Earlier this month, the Boulder, Colorado city council unanimously approved a ban on the possession and sale of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and “bump stocks” that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire at a higher rate of speed.
In April, Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) signed several gun reform measures into law, despite running against new firearm regulations on the campaign trail. The bills signed by Gov. Scott would raise the minimum age to purchasing weapons from 18 to 21, ban bump stocks, implement universal background checks for all gun purchases, and limit rifle magazines to 10 rounds.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.