It is one of the great debates that has shaken the United States for many years. The proliferation of weapons divides the country : Should it be limited, to avoid frequent assassinations, or should it be free to own arms, according to the Constitution?
President Joe Biden wants to at least regulate the carrying of weapons. He claimed on Tuesday, March 23 the ban on assault rifles, after another attack in Colorado that left 10 dead.
This request is not new from the Democrat. Back in 2013, when he was vice president of Barack Obama, he advised Americans who wanted to defend themselves with a gun to buy a shotgun instead of an assault rifle, he reports. The world. In August 2019, during the Democratic primary, he had promised a buy-back program for these rifles to “get rid” of these “weapons of war,” he says. Le Figaro. More recently, during the three years of the Parkland High School massacre in Florida in mid-February, he called on Congress to act to limit the circulation of weapons. He called once again for the ban on assault rifles and the imposition of Systematic background check for the purchase of any weapon., according to BFMTV.
A (too) narrow majority in Parliament
If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are in favor of gun regulation, convincing US parliamentarians to pass such laws seems difficultme. In fact, Joe Biden has only a narrow majority in both houses of Parliament, and Republicans remain overwhelmingly opposed to the gun reforms.
“This narrow majority of the Democratic field multiplies by ten the power of certain elected moderate Republicans or centrist Democrats”, explains to RTL.fr Marie-Christine Bonzom, political scientist and journalist specialized in the United States. Therefore, only they could tip the balance. However, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, now known for his key vote in Parliament, was quick to announce that would not support Joe Biden’s bill, ”he continues.
Especially since it is not necessary to have a simple majority to pass the law. In the Senate it is necessary make sure you get at least 60 votes out of 100 seats so you don’t have to face parliamentary obstruction. Without them, an opponent of the law can use the technique of “obstructionism”: speaking without interruption to exhaust his audience. In truth, the mere threat of using this technique is usually enough to block the debate and prevent the passage of the law.
A right enshrined in the Constitution
“Even if we can imagine that the law wins a majority with the voice of Kamala Haaris, Republicans will not allow the vote to take place”, Analyzes Nicole Bacharan, historian and political scientist specializing in American society.
According to a Morning Consult / Politico poll from March 10, up to 84% of Americans would support a background check of people who buy a gun. Why then so much opposition from the Republicans? “They have a real terror, is that if they flex on this issue, the NRA [National Rifle Association, le principal lobby pro-armes, NDLR] is launching a campaign against him for the next elections, ”says Nicole Bacharan.
Above all, the right of citizens to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States : this is the second amendment. “The right of the people to own and bear arms must not be violated,” he said. Therefore, in order to establish truly binding legislation on the subject, it might be necessary to review it. Constitutional reform. “It is a long, complex process that requires obtaining three-quarters of majorities in the States … Suffice it to say that the prospect of success is almost nil“, assures Marie-Christine Bonzom.
Before the Monday, March 22, shooting in Boulder, Colorado, the city had already banned “assault rifle-type weapons” and high-capacity magazines. The move was taken after the Parkland massacre in 2018. But according to the newspaper Denver Post, a judge suspended the ban last week.