7th May 2023 – (Washington) A shooting at Allen Premium Outlets near Dallas, Texas, has left eight people dead and seven injured, according to officials. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon, and the gunman, who authorities believe acted alone, is also dead. Allen Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd reported that at least nine people were taken to hospitals, with two dying later, three in critical surgery, and four in stable condition.
The youngest victims of the shooting were only five years old, according to a Dallas-area medical group that treated those injured in the attack. The shooting at the outlet mall has left the community in shock and fear, as it is the latest in a string of mass shootings that have taken place across the United States.
The shooting in Texas is the 19th mass killing to occur in the U.S. since the beginning of the year, with a total of 97 people killed. This surpasses the previous record set in 2009 when 93 people were killed in 17 incidents by the end of April. The rise in mass shootings has led to renewed calls for gun control legislation, but little progress has been made due to political gridlock in Congress.
The lack of progress on gun control legislation is due, in part, to the political process in the United States, which gives disproportionate power to small states. According to Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the political-reform program at New America, Senate Republicans have represented a majority of the US population for only two years since 1980, if you assign half of each state’s population to each of its senators. Despite this, the GOP has controlled the Senate majority for 22 of those 42 years, due to their commanding hold on smaller states.
The filibuster rule in the Senate, which requires the backing of 60 senators to move legislation to a vote, provides a veto over national policy to a minority of states, most of them small, largely rural, preponderantly white, and dominated by Republicans. This means that even when a clear majority of Americans support gun control measures, such as universal background checks and an assault-weapons ban, it is unlikely that legislative action will be taken.
The lack of progress on gun control legislation also reflects the GOP’s reliance on the sentiments of gun owners in their party over any other perspective, even that of other Republican voters. Polling by the Pew Research Center found that the share of Republicans who live in a household with a gun (54%) far exceeds the share of Democrats who do (31%). Even though a majority of Americans support background checks, an assault-weapons ban, and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, Republican elected officials have opposed gun control measures due to their association with the values of red America.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has also played a significant role in opposing gun control legislation. Although the organisation has weakened institutionally, its influence inside the GOP has been magnified by the reconfiguration of American politics along geographic lines. Three decades of electoral re-sorting has significantly shrunk the number of Democrats representing rural constituencies who would oppose gun control legislation, while the number of Republicans with big suburban constituencies who would support it has also decreased.
The lack of progress on gun control legislation in the United States is due to a combination of factors, including the disproportionate power of small states in the political process, the influence of gun culture on Republican elected officials, and the NRA’s opposition to gun control measures. Until these issues are addressed, it is unlikely that legislative action will be taken to prevent future mass shootings, such as the tragic incident at Allen Premium Outlets.