Before Monday’s killings at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard, Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns warned, “There will be another mass shooting. And when it happens, members of Congress will have a lot of explaining to do.” Still, says the Los Angeles Times, sponsors of gun legislation expressed doubt that the Navy Yard shooting would change the stubborn political reality that led to the defeat of a bipartisan proposal in April. “It is unclear if [the Navy Yard] tragedy changes the atmosphere sufficiently to yield a different outcome,” said Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), who joined with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) to draft an amendment to expand background checks that failed by five votes to muster the required 60.
Shooter Aaron Alexis entered the Navy Yard with a shotgun he bought two days earlier at a Virginia gun store with two boxes of ammunition. It was not clear whether the Manchin-Toomey proposal would have stopped that purchase, which is one reason lawmakers expressed skepticism that the incident would resurrect the legislation. The congressional agenda is full for the next few weeks, with an Oct. 1 deadline to pass a government funding resolution and a mid-October deadline to raise the debt limit. Even if there were time, the leadership in the Republican-controlled House has resisted gun safety bills. In the Senate, “We don’t have the votes,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.)