OnPolitics: Despite Texas shooting, gun control advocates fear inaction

·4 min read

Greetings, OnPolitics readers!

More details about what happened at the White House on Jan. 6, 2021 have emerged.

A former White House aide told colleagues President Donald Trump appeared to support rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” as they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to witnesses cited Wednesday in a news report.

Two witnesses have told the House committee investigating the Capitol attack that Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, described Trump complaining that Pence was being taken to safety when the mob stormed the building, according to the New York Times.

Meadows left Trump in a dining room off the Oval Office and told colleagues in his own office that Trump “said something to the effect of, maybe Mr. Pence should be hung,” according to witnesses cited in the report.

But Trump’s tone was unclear, and his precise remarks weren’t quoted in the story.

The report echoed what Jonathan Karl, an ABC News reporter, said in November with the release of a book about Trump called "Betrayal." When asked about the chants, Trump told Karl in a recorded interview Pence was "in very good shape" and "well protected," but "the people were very angry."

It's Amy and Chelsey with today's top stories.

Why gun control advocates see no end in sight after Uvalde shooting

Echoing past tragedies, Americans condemn the killer of 19 elementary school children and two teachers and grieve with the families in Uvalde, Texas, but there's no sense of optimism that this is the mass slaying that will spur tough gun control laws.

The fatalism is especially palpable among U.S. senators, where gun control advocates don't even pretend to have an answer.

Optimism for compromise on gun control is dimming for a simple reason: It takes 60 votes to pass legislation through the Senate, and Republicans, who occupy 50 seats, generally have different views on the solutions to mass shootings.

Many Republicans are heavily backed by gun rights groups: The top 20 recipients of gun lobby donations in the 2021-22 election cycle are all Republicans, according to data compiled by nonpartisan Open Secrets.

Republicans often blame poor parenting and social ills and support stationing more law enforcement at schools (Trump backed arming teachers after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida). They support some mental health screening for gun ownership but generally not to the degree Democrats want.

"The problem starts with people, not with guns," Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., said Wednesday. "We've had guns forever. And we're gonna continue to have guns."

What can Biden do? There are steps presidents can – and have – taken to limit gun access. Last year, Biden directed his administration to tighten restrictions on so-called ghost guns, or untraceable weapons that can be constructed from parts purchased online.

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Republican Senate primary goes to recount in Pennsylvania

Election results in the Senate primary election between Trump-backed Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and opponent David McCormick are so close, that the state of Pennsylvania has authorized a recount of the votes.

Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman officially announced the recount on Wednesday.

Oz’s slight lead over businessman McCormick shrunk to fewer than 1,000 votes on Monday as counties throughout the state tallied mail-in ballots.

Trump, who urged an end to the ballot count soon after the 2020 presidential election due to the length of time it took some states to tally mail-in ballots, advised Oz to declare victory in Pennsylvania for the same reason.

"It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find,’" Trump said.

In a later statement, Trump suggested the U.S. switch to paper ballots with same-day voting.

Neither Oz nor McCormick has declared victory in the race.

Traveling over Memorial Day weekend? Here's how much a car trip may cost you in gas. — Amy and Chelsey

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gun control advocates demand action by lawmakers after Texas shooting

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