Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida based real estate developer and major Republican backer, sent thousands of letters to his fellow GOP donors to recruit more clout for his effort to enact new gun laws in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. And Republicans should take notice.
Hoffman commands attention within the Republican Party. He served as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee and on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney, Senator Marco Rubio and several members of the Bush family.
After several mass shootings in a row, the latest Quinnipiac University poll shows a sharp increase in national support for universal background checks for gun purchases, including among gun owners. The poll also found that a majority of voters support “a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons’’.
The new findings show the highest level of support for checks since Quinnipiac started polling on the issue after the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown that killed 20 children and six educators in December 2012. The nationwide poll took place Nov. 7-13 with a margin of error of + or - 3%.
Not content with Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn proposing legislation that would tighten background checks, Senate Democrats are moving forward to ban assault weapons in reaction to the mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas. In addition, the senators want to ban the manufacturing and sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines and bump stocks, which modify semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons.
Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein of California leads nearly two dozen democrats in introducing this legislation in the wake of the mass shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist church in Texas. She previously proposed similar legislation after the Las Vegas shooting on October 1, which left 59 people dead and many more injured.
The attack on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, the Las Vegas massacre killing at least 58 people and injuring over 450 more, opened up debate on the availability of guns. The same questions raised after Columbine, Newtown, and Orlando.
Yet very few changes were made after these mass shooting tragedies. And some laws became more relaxed. In 2004 the federal ban on assault weapons expired. The ban, enacted in 1994, fails repeatedly to be reinstated in Congress.