Top Democratic leaders on Thursday called for stringent federal gun control regulations as another US mass shooting in a southern California bar killed at least 12 people, including a police officer.
"Some will say California's strong gun laws didn't prevent this shooting, but without stronger federal gun regulations, there's little California can do to keep guns coming in from other states. Without stronger laws to prevent straw purchasing and close the gaping holes in our background check system, a presumptive murderer barely has to lift a finger to buy a gun," Senator Dianne Feinstein said.
As Americans grieved the deaths of innocent lives in the bar shooting on Wednesday night, Feinstein blamed the ruling Republicans for blocking efforts towards a major gun control laws.
"Today we add Thousand Oaks to the ever-growing list of communities that have suffered mass shootings," she said.
"These mass murders are depressingly pervasive. Schools. Theaters. Malls. Offices. Synagogues. Grocery stores. Bars. Concerts. Churches. They're inspired by racism, revenge, terrorism or just pure hatred. The one common attribute: easy access to guns," Feinstein said.
While one does not know all the details of this latest shooting, she said the solution to reducing the frequency of these murders is well known. "What we're missing is Republican willpower to get it done," she said.
"A renewed ban on military-style assault weapons - which have no place in civilian society - is ready for a vote. A bill to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines is ready for a vote. A bill to ban bump stocks, which Republicans agree should be illegal, is ready for a vote," Feinstein said.
Similarly, a bill to close the gun show and online loopholes is ready for a vote. Bills to prevent terrorists from buying guns, keep guns away from domestic abusers and allow families to get a gun violence restraining order, each is ready for a vote, she said.
The US Congress could hold these votes next week and have bills on the president's desk by Thanksgiving. "Instead, Republicans refuse to take any action at all," she alleged.
Stating that this failure to act is "cowardice of epic proportions," Feinstein said while one may not be able to stop all gun violence, but that doesn't mean Republicans should be allowed to bury their heads in the sand and not try to stop any of it.
"What we're lacking is intestinal fortitude from congressional Republicans and President Trump to say enough is enough. As long as they stand in fear of the NRA and worry more about the power of the gun lobby than the lives of their fellow citizens, we'll see more Thousand Oaks, more bodies lying at the foot of failed Republican leadership," Feinstein said.
It is particularly wrenching that this attack was carried out at a bar hosting a college night, targeting innocent young people enjoying an evening of music and community, said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"The American people deserve real action to end the daily epidemic of gun violence that is stealing the lives of our children on campuses, in places of worship and on our streets. House Democrats will fight to pass bipartisan, common sense solutions to prevent gun violence in communities across the country," Pelosi said.
This is not normal, said the Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez. "Every American should be able to live their entire life free from the fear of experiencing a massacre like this," he said.
"But early reports have indicated that among the patrons at the Borderline Bar last night were survivors of last year's Las Vegas massacre. Enough is enough. It's time to end this madness," Perez said.
(With inputs from agencies.)