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Gun deaths outpace efforts for reform in US

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-21 09:25
A police car is seen in Washington DC, on Sept 19, 2019. [Photo/VCG] 

Two shootings in Washington highlight partisan divisions as accusations traded

WASHINGTON - Despite the increasing frequency of mass shootings which have shocked the nation, gun reform legislation in the United States remains uncertain, as bipartisan negotiations are moving slowly in Washington.

Such a seemingly endless tug of war in Washington is taking a toll on the people of the country. On Thursday night, one person was killed and five others injured in a shooting in Washington, not far from the White House, according to police.

Metropolitan police were searching for two men armed with a rifle seen at the shooting scene in a largely residential part of the northwest Washington neighborhood.

Three others were wounded in another shooting, in northeast Washington, although police didn't know if the two shootings were related, The Washington Post reported.

"We're not moving on anything," US President Donald Trump said early on Thursday. "We're moving very slowly in one way because we want to make sure it's right."

The Republican president blamed the slow progress on former congressman Beto O'Rourke, who said during last week's Democratic presidential primary debate that he would ensure mandatory buybacks for assault-style rifles, such as AR-15, if elected.

"Part of the problem that we have is because Beto O'Rourke's statement about taking away guns," Trump said. "All of the moderate Republicans and some Democrats are now afraid to do anything to go down that slippery slope."

O'Rourke has made gun legislation a key aspect of his presidential campaign since a mass shooting at a Walmart store in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, left 22 dead in August.

"Here we are in 2019 and we still don't have universal background checks or 'red flag' laws or we allowed the assault weapons ban to expire, even though it did so much good and saved so many lives," O'Rourke told CNN on Wednesday.

While his proposal raises a number of legal and logistical questions, including some from Democrats, O'Rourke said that he's willing to fight.

"No one in this country, including owners of AR-15s and AK-47s, think that what is happening right now is OK," he said.

The remarks came as the government is reportedly circulating a memo on Capitol Hill describing a possible proposal to expand background checks to all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows.

If someone who attempts to buy a firearm fails a background check, it would be reported to law enforcement officials, according to the memo.

The House passed a bipartisan background checks bill earlier this year but the Senate, controlled by the Republicans, hasn't taken up the House bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that the chamber is waiting for indications of what Trump is willing to sign.

Xinhua - Agencies

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