A Republican congressman called out his colleagues on Tuesday for offering "thoughts and prayers" to the 49 victims of the massacre at an LGTBQ nightclub while punting, once again, on meaningful gun reform.
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today because thoughts and prayers are not enough," Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) said on the House floor. "And it's time to act."
Dold was speaking in support of a bill that would bar people on the FBI's terrorist watch list from owning or purchasing firearms. The measure previously failed to pass both the House and Senate in a vote that largely fell along party lines, but was revived after the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was revealed to be on the list.
(The measure, it should be noted, is also controversial for reasons that have nothing to do with Second Amendment absolutism. Critics of the proposal have pointed out that the law could have considerable civil rights and racial justice implications because of the lack of transparency about how a person gets on the FBI's watch list and the number of names that have been added in error.)
“In short, there are numerous common sense proposals that will keep guns out of the hands of those that should not have them, while protecting our Second Amendment rights,” Dold said. “There is no quick and easy solution to all the problems underscored by the Orlando terrorist attack. But if we’re able to set aside partisan differences and unite in the best interests of our nation, we can make serious strides in the ongoing efforts to keep Americans safe and prevent future atrocities."
As the Hill first noted, Dold also used his speech to back universal background checks, legislation to notify law enforcement when someone fails a background check, and a bill that he co-sponsored that would keep people convicted of domestic violence against dating partners from owning or purchasing guns.
Under current law, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence are only banned from owning guns if they are married to, have children with, or live with their victims. Dold's bill, which he co-sponsored with Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, would close that loophole.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2008, 48.6% of intimate partner homicides were committed by a dating partner. Of those victims, 70% were women. In 2015, 31% of all mass shooting deaths in 2015 were related to an incident of domestic violence.
Dold represents a moderate, increasingly blue-leaning district in the Chicago suburbs, so supporting a package of reforms that most Americans support could be common sense. Or it could be common sense and an effort to save his seat by distancing himself from his party, which, in addition to being led by Donald Trump, has an absolutist take on the Second Amendment that a majority of Americans think is bonkers.
But, you know, it's something.