(NewsGlobal.com)- In the aftermath of Tuesday’s elementary school shooting in Texas, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a strong message to other Democrats who might be hesitant to take on the powerful gun lobby.
She told them that their political careers pale in comparison to preserving children’s lives.
Pelosi lamented the “unspeakable grief” of the young victims’ families in a letter to Democrats, urging Republicans to reconsider their previous opposition to stricter gun laws and pledging that the House will move aggressively on its own set of anti-gun violence proposals, regardless of whether the Senate joins in.
Pelosi hinted that there would be some problematic votes coming.
So far in this election season, Democratic leaders have taken a cautious approach to gun reform initiatives.
While the House passed two measures last year to strengthen the FBI’s background check system before gun purchases — laws now stuck in the Senate — they skirted more divisive proposals, such as legislation prohibiting military-style semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15.
Those rifles were banned in 1994, but after the ban was lifted in 2004, they’ve grown prevalent in some sections of the country. Even if the proposal in the Senate fails, voting to prohibit them again may put incumbent House Democrats facing tough reelection battles in purple areas in jeopardy.
On Tuesday, the incident in Uvalde, Texas, in which a young shooter killed 19 children and two educators with a semi-automatic weapon, may alter the equation.
The tragedy occurred just ten days after another shooting murder at a Buffalo supermarket, in which a single shooter reportedly used a similar weapon to kill ten people. And the fact that the two deadliest mass shootings of the year happened so close together has prompted House Democratic leaders to act.
Pelosi, who represents the liberal city of San Francisco, has long advocated for stricter gun legislation. However, as the head of a broad Democratic Party for over two decades, she has taken a cautious approach to the subject at times, echoing the concerns of moderate politicians from districts where Second Amendment rights are more inviolate.
Public opinion surveys have shown broad support for gun control initiatives, including expanding background checks, which are popular across party lines, giving Democrats optimism. Pelosi expressed her hope that this view is shared by the Republican senators, who are already lined up to prevent any additional gun regulations this week.
“As we embark on this journey, we do so with the confidence that the American people massively and bipartisanly support action to reduce gun violence,” she stated.