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Politics, guns and why passing policy seems hard to do

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton again invoke calls for policy changes on guns but, for lawmakers, it seems answering those calls is hard to do.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday morning, President Donald Trump denounced the shooting attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 

"Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," the president said. 

He unveiled a six-point plan aimed at addressing mass shootings in America.

"I am directing the Department of Justice to work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike," President Trump said.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for change and it's not the first time the American people have heard these calls for action.

After the shooting at Santa Fe High School outside Houston, Texas, lawmakers looked for solutions. During the state's legislative session, those solutions mostly took the form of hardening schools and offering more resources for mental health. 

Some say it wasn't enough and they wanted to see lawmakers pass some form of gun reform or red flag laws. 

Ross Ramsey, the executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, told KVUE that lawmakers are simply answering to voters. 

"The politicians in Texas are just afraid to step into this part of the methodology without a really clear signal from voters that it's time to draw a line," said Ramsey. 

RELATED: El Paso latest: 22 victims identified, Trump to visit Wednesday

RELATED: Obama calls for tougher gun control laws in wake of weekend mass shootings

Glenn Smith, the senior adviser of Progress Texas, thinks there are also other forces at play.

"The NRA and other gun lobbyists have exploited that kind of natural affinity to the wild or the old west here in Texas and elsewhere, and they've leveraged lawmakers with their money and they're political support to stand with them no matter what," said Smith. 

"We've got to remember, the NRA, they're gun manufacturers and sellers. They're not taking up for the constitution, they're taking up for gun sales," Smith added.


What are red flag gun laws?

Texas gun laws are about to get more lenient

Dayton: 9 killed in the US's 2nd mass shooting in 24 hours

On a national level, many are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call members back from their summer recess to vote on a universal background check bill that already passed the House.

Travis County Republican Party Chair Matt Mackowiak said he agrees that lawmakers should come back early, but adds thay they should come to start the discussion on possible solutions.

"Look, there's really just not a bi-partisan consensus, particularly as it relates to gun control right now," said Mackowiak. "And I think before anything big happens there's going to be a considerable amount of debate."

Ramsey, Smith and Mackowiak all agree that, as a country, Americans will just have to wait and see if the most recent shootings were enough to move the conversation about guns in America.


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