WASHINGTON — A mass shooting at a Texas church that left 26 dead Sunday — a month after a shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people — has reignited calls for Congress to pass gun control legislation.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who authored legislation to expand background checks, called on his colleagues "to think about whether the political support of the gun industry is worth the blood that flows endlessly onto the floors of American churches, elementary schools, movie theaters, and city streets."
But while Congress has passed legislation to increase access to mental health care as a way to prevent gun violence, it is often paralyzed when it comes to federal gun legislation. Here’s a timeline of legislative responses to some of the most high-profile mass shootings in the last decade:
April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech
Seung Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., killing 32 people.
Legislation: The Bipartisan NICS Improvement Amendments Act was offered to improve federal and state electronic recordkeeping for use in backgrounds checks on people ineligible to possess firearms due to mental illness or domestic violence. It passed both the House and Senate by unanimous consent.
Outcome: President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on Jan. 8, 2008. On Feb. 28, President Trump signed legislation overturning a rule to implement this law. The rule would have barred gun ownership by some who have been deemed mentally impaired by the Social Security Administration.
Dec. 14, 2012: Sandy Hook
Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Legislation: The Senate took up a host of bills, including a bipartisan bill by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that would have mandated background checks for private sales at gun shows and all Internet sales, exempting most sales between family and friends. Other bills would have banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines and targeted gun trafficking and "straw purchasers" — people who buy guns for others..
Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, backed legislation that would make it easier to carry guns across state lines, but that would also address mental illness, target straw purchasing and illegal firearm trafficking and increase resources to prosecute gun crimes. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proposed legislation to make it easier for gun owners who can carry a concealed weapon in their home state to carry it in other states.
Outcome: On April 18, 2013, the Senate rejected each of the bills. President Obama, after his administration lobbied intensively for expanded background checks, called it a “shameful day in Washington.”
June 17, 2015: Charleston
Dylan Roof, 22, opens fire at a weekly Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine people.
Legislation: Democrats proposed closing what became known as the “Charleston loophole,” which allows federally licensed firearms dealers to proceed with a sale if the FBI doesn’t complete a background check in three days. Because of this “default proceed” rule, Roof was allowed to purchase his firearm legally. The bill would have eliminated the three-day deadline.
Outcome: The bill never came up for a vote in either the House or Senate; Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., reintroduced the bill earlier this year.
Dec. 2, 2015: San Bernardino
Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, open fire at a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health holiday party, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others in San Bernardino, Calif.
Legislation: The Senate revisited Grassley’s bill and the Manchin-Toomey background check proposal, along with different “no-fly, no buy” measures that would prevent or delay individuals on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms.
Outcome: The Senate rejected the measures a day after the shooting.
June 12, 2016: Pulse shooting
Omar Mateen, 29, opens fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., leaving 49 dead and 53 injured.
Legislation: The Senate takes up Grassley’s bill, “no-fly, no buy” legislation, and a bill by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., requiring universal background checks.
Outcome: The measures fail on June 20, 2016.
Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas
Gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500.
Legislation: Lawmakers in both parties proposed banning “bump stocks” that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire following revelations that Paddock may have used the devices in the shooting. Murphy also introduced updated legislation to expand background checks.
Outcome: House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said regulations are the “smartest, quickest fix" to address rapid-fire devices like the one used in the Las Vegas mass murder; the legisaltion is still pending.
Multiple fatalities in Texas church shooting