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REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Deplorable D.C. business as usual

After a mass killing in Florida, Congress remains mired in a bitter bipartisan standstill, despite overwhelming support by everyday Americans to toughen gun laws.

June 12, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He was killed by police in the hostage standoff.

Mateen was an American of Afghan descent. While on the telephone during the standoff with police, the dispatcher asked for his name. Mateen said, “My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.”

ISIS may be happy with the bloody outcome, but there is no evidence Mateen was in cahoots with the terrorist organization.

Mateen was on a terrorism watch list and had a history of violence.

Monday, senators from each party introduced measures they said would have strengthened background checks and prevented suspected terrorists from obtaining weapons.

But, election year politics, quarrels over the effectiveness of each party’s ideas sustained the partisan deadlock that’s been the one constant of Washington, D.C., for years.

Americans endorse stricter gun laws.

Ninety-two percent of Americans said they wanted expanded background checks, 87 percent supported a ban for felons or people with mental health problems and 85 percent said they would bar people on federal watch lists from buying guns, according to CNN on Monday.

Ninety percent of Republicans said they favor preventing people on the terror watch list or “no fly” list from purchasing a gun. For Democrats, it’s at 85 percent, according to CNN.

So who exactly is leading our leaders?

“Senate Republicans should be embarrassed but they’re not,” said Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who accused them of working for the National Rifle Association, not the American people.

Would the Second Amendment be stepped on if we made it tougher for crackpots to buy guns?

No.

I don’t believe gun owners should be forced to turn in their firearms. Nor should those who enjoy plinking at shooting ranges with automatic weapons be penalized.

It doesn’t matter whether you are gay or straight, homophobic or simply insouciant. The people who died in Orlando are just that, people, with hopes, dreams and families who mourn them.

We should enact laws to prevent homicidal maniacs from getting their hands on guns. How many more deaths will it take before our esteemed leaders in Washington free themselves from the partisan morass? What will it take before politicians begin working for the people who elected them, not the companies that seem to call all the shots because they bankrolled the politicos’ campaigns.

If these guys aren’t “of the people, by the people, for the people,” maybe it’s time the people elect officials who do electorates,’ not big businesses,’ bidding.

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