WASHINGTON — Across the country, people are horrified by the massacre of 21 people, including 19 young children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
For many, the visuals bring back memories of the tragic mass killing at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, which killed 26 people, including 20 children.
On social media, many are questioning how much has changed in the decade since that first elementary school shooting. Those calling for gun control have lamented the fact that no meaningful legislation has been passed in Congress since then.
"A decade after Sandy Hook," wrote one person on Twitter. "No deals on guns despite what the people want."
A Congressional reporter for the AP, took to Twitter with the following message, garnering over 31,000 likes, and thousands of Re-Tweets.
Has Congress not passed any significant legislation on gun control in the near decade since Sandy Hook?
- Todd Belt, Director of the Political Management program at The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University
- Congress.Gov, 112th Congress - 117th Congress, Archived Legislation
- Congressional Research Service Report, "Federal Firearms Law: Selected Developments in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches"
No. Despite a few efforts, Congress has not passed significant gun control legislation over the decade since Sandy Hook.
WHAT WE KNOW:
In the decade since the horrific shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, there has been no successful action on the Congressional level, according to Todd Belt, the Director of the Political Management Program at George Washington University.
"That's absolutely true if we look at Congressional legislation," he said. "There have been some new laws and regulations that have been sent through Executive Orders. But when it comes to Congressional legislation, nothing has happened since Sandy Hook."
This can be confirmed by looking at the legislation tracker on the Congress.Gov website. Despite numerous proposed bills, none of these have been passed and signed into law.
For example, in 2013, shortly after Sandy Hook, the Manchin-Toomey Amendment would have bolstered background checks, but it failed to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate.
The bill was shut down by a vote of 54 to 46, falling short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.
With limited Congressional avenues, presidents have taken executive action, to try and push their agenda. For example, the Congressional Research Service wrote the following about President Biden's recent actions:
"On April 7, 2021, President Biden announced six executive actions seeking to address gun violence. Among those actions were instructions for DOJ to issue rules addressing so-called 'ghost guns' lacking serial numbers or other identifying markings, and the extent to which handguns with certain stabilizing or arm braces are considered 'short-barreled rifles' under the NFA."
Belt said that this executive action has been limited, but is at times the only action possible, to overcome gridlock.
"In the absence of Congressional leadership on this issue," he said. "Presidents have been taking the ball themselves and running."