Rep. Ayanna Pressley said during Monday’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the “common enemy” in the gun violence “epidemic” plaguing the country.
Ms. Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat and “Squad” member, told Comedy Central host Trevor Noah that Republican lawmakers like Mr. McConnell lack the “political courage and leadership” to act on guns after multiple mass shootings rocked the nation in recent weeks.
“Yes, guns are the common factor. And the common enemy in all of this is Mitch McConnell,” Ms. Pressley said to a wave of applause.
The congresswoman provided audience members with the phone number to Mr. McConnell’s Senate office and urged them to lobby the senator to bring gun-control legislation to a vote.
“This gun violence is a public health crisis and epidemic,” Ms. Pressley said. “This is an urban issue, it is a rural issue, it is a suburban issue, it is transcendent, it is a public health crisis and epidemic, it is pervasive and it is growing.”
Ms. Pressley went on to claim that “millions” of lives could be saved by passing an “assault weapons” ban like the one in New Zealand, where citizens have handed more than 10,000 firearms over to police after the government banned most semi-automatic firearms in response to the Christchurch massacre.
“We could pass an assault weapons ban, we could pass universal background checks,” the congresswoman said. “We also have to address straw purchasing and gun trafficking.
“We need to hold two narratives,” she continued. “There are mass shootings and there’s community-based violence. And we also know there are more guns than people. And for as long as that’s the case, you are going to see an intersectionality of violence. Violence begets violence. How many mass shooters and perpetrators of violence were also abusers of women? You know, these things are all interconnected, and so we need to hold space for both community-based violence and for mass shootings.”
Democrats have been calling on Mr. McConnell to call the Senate back from the August recess to vote on legislation expanding gun background checks that passed the House earlier this year. The Republican senator, who has long opposed gun-control legislation, said he’s open to having “a bipartisan discussion” on the issue, but not until September.
“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” he said last week, reacting to the mass shootings that claimed 31 lives in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
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