It was just a week ago that a gunman murdered nine people in a Charleston church, renewing an ongoing debate over, among other things, the public's easy access to guns.
Given the way the argument usually goes, it was hard for cynics not to wonder how quickly some policymakers would expand
gun rights after the massacre. Now we know
Scott Walker expanded gun rights in Wisconsin on Wednesday by signing into law two bills that, respectively, get rid of the state's 48-hour waiting period and let retired or off-duty law enforcement officials carry concealed firearms into public schools. [...] Walker, who is expected to jump into the 2016 presidential race in the next few weeks, often touts his efforts to roll back gun laws in the state. He also has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.
In fairness, it's important to emphasize, as the Politico report
does, that these state measures have been in the works for quite a while -- the Wisconsin bills are unrelated to developments in Charleston.
Still, the timing is jarring. To expand gun rights so soon after yet another mass shooting suggests a certain indifference to the broader debate.
As for the policy itself, Wisconsin Democrats reminded
the state's GOP majority that a 48-hour waiting period has been an effective "cooling-off period for those contemplating suicide or who might shoot another person in a fit of passion, especially in cases of domestic abuse."
Walker and his Republican allies were evidently not persuaded.
As for the debate at the national level, the Washington Post reported
that the effort to expand background checks still enjoys the support of its chief co-sponsors.
In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are considering ways to renew their failed push to expand meaningful background checks on gun purchases. In separate interviews Tuesday night, at a reception before a ceremony hosted by Sandy Hook families where Toomey was honored, the senators discussed their desire to find a new way forward.
"What I'm trying to figure out is, is there something that could get the support of the 60 votes that we would need in the Senate," Toomey told the Post. "Joe Manchin was and is a great partner and someone I will continue to work with, and I'm open to exploring what is possible."
Regrettably, in a Republican-led Congress, what's "possible" on gun reforms is practically, if not literally, nothing.