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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took aim at the push to restrict gun rights by President Joe Biden, who on the Feb. 14 anniversary of the Parkland shooting called on Congress to impose tougher laws on ownership of firearms.

Biden Won’t Undo the Second Amendment in Texas On My Watch: AG Paxton

Paxton wrote in a tweet late Sunday, “The Parkland shooting 3 years ago was an act of unspeakable evil. But Democrats cannot be allowed to use this tragedy as an opportunity to cram down unhelpful and unconstitutional gun laws.”

“Biden won’t undo the #2A in TX on my watch,” the Republican attorney general added, referring to the Second Amendment.

Sunday marked three years since former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the Parkland, Florida, campus, killing 17 people and leaving another 17 wounded.

makeshift memorials at in Parkland, Florida
Flowers, candles and mementos sit outside one of the makeshift memorials in Parkland, Feburuary 27, 2018

Biden took the opportunity to call on lawmakers to enact what he called “commonsense gun law reforms.” This includes background checks on all gun sales, eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers, and banning “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now,” Biden said in a statement.

Parkland parents have been divided over how lawmakers should respond.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was 14 when she was killed in the shooting, addressed the president in a tweet Sunday.

“Mr. President, thank you for remembering the loved ones taken from us 3 years ago,” he wrote. “Alaina loved this country and the freedoms it guarantees. Common sense tells us that honoring her life does not require infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

In an interview Sunday, Petty said the president’s proposals won’t prevent more tragedies.

“It’s wrong to focus on the weapon,” said Petty, who is now a member of the state school board. “For those who understand what happened that day, there were mistakes. This was the most preventable school shooting in the history of our country. The warning signs were there. It was clear the killer had intentions to attack the school.”

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Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges
Nikolas Cruz, facing 17 charges of premeditated murder in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 19, 2018

Mass shootings have galvanized gun control advocates, who argue guns are too easily accessible and say more needs to be done to keep assault-style guns away from potentially bad actors.

“The passage of time has done little to heal the heartbreak we felt upon hearing the shocking news three years ago today, nor dulled our sense of outrage at the lack of consequential legislative action from lawmakers since that horrible morning—laws that would prevent another Parkland from ever happening again,” said Manny Diaz, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

The main part of Biden’s gun control agenda includes banning the manufacture and sale of “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, regulating possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act, buying back these weapons and high-capacity magazines from citizens, requiring background checks for all gun sales, ending the online sale of firearms and ammunition, and providing more funds to enforce these laws.

John R. Lott Jr., former president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, argued in an op-ed that the reasoning behind Biden’s gun control agenda is flawed.

“Far less than 1 percent of guns are ever used in crimes, suicides, or accidents, and when they are, it’s virtually always the result of the user’s actions,” he wrote, arguing that plenty of other products are used to commit crimes, including cars and computers, or are associated with accidental deaths, like swimming pools.

“Many other products, such as motorcycles, have much higher probabilities of causing harm. The death rate per motorcycle is 0.05 percent; the death rate for guns is 0.008 percent,” a figure that besides homicides includes accidental deaths and suicides.

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State AGs ask Yellen to confirm that COVID relief bill does not usurp states’ rights to cut taxes

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More than a dozen state attorneys general have asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to confirm that the coronavirus relief bill recently approved by the federal government does not attempt to infringe on states’ authority in the area of state taxes.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr led the group of 21 state attorneys general in the letter to Yellen — the other attorneys general involved were from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

“The import of the Act’s prohibition against ‘offsetting’ reductions in state tax revenue is unclear, but potentially breathtaking,” the letter states. “This provision might have been intended merely to prohibit States from expressly t aking COVID-19 relief funds and rolling them directly into a tax cut of a similar amount. But its prohibition on ‘indirectly’ offsetting reductions in tax revenue, combined with the list of prohibited kinds of tax reductions (rate cuts, rebates, deductions, credits, or “otherwise”), could also be read to prohibit tax cuts or relief of any stripe, even if wholly unrelated to and independent of the availability of relief funds. After all, money is fungible, and States must balance their budgets. So, in a sense, any tax relief enacted by a state legislature after the State has received relief funds could be viewed as ‘using’ those funds as an ‘offset’ that allows the State to provide that tax relief.”

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VIDEO: Can Congress come together to solve the crisis at the border?

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Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee discusses the problems at the southern border

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Democrats float rule change to stymie Marjorie Taylor Greene

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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s procedural delay tactic, which has increasingly become a regular part of House of Representatives business, could be blocked if some Democrats get their way.

The firebrand Georgia freshman congresswoman on Wednesday made her fourth motion to adjourn in three weeks as a delay tactic before the House passed the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.” The unannounced roll call votes forced members of Congress to stop other business.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the motion does much more to delay floor business because each roll call vote is allotted an extended time of 45 minutes to encourage social distancing.

Though the motions have failed each time, the disruptive move so frustrates members that Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, said he plans to propose a House rule change that will allow only members who are on House committees to call a motion to adjourn.

Cicilline hasn’t proposed the rule change, and it is unclear whether Democratic leadership will support it. California Rep. Pete Aguilar, vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that he first heard about Cicilline’s proposal in the press and that the caucus hasn’t discussed it.

Other House Democrats who spoke to the Washington Examiner were open to the idea, though. Another solution might be to limit the number of times in a congressional session that a single member could make a motion to adjourn.

Catholic University professor and politics department Chairman Matthew Green — that’s Green without the silent “e” like the Georgia congresswoman, with whom he has no known relation — warned that a quick rule change might be bad for Democrats.

“It’s Pelosi and the Democrats’ interest, frankly, to let this play itself out,” Green said. “Being so quick to change the rules actually indicates that the leaders of both parties have less power than you think over their own members.”

On Greene’s first motion to adjourn, all Republicans voted with her. The second time, two voted against the move; the third time, 18 Republicans voted against

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 it.

The fourth time she tried the move, 40 House Republicans voted against Greene’s motion. She then sent out a press release with the names of all 40 Republicans, calling them members of the “Surrender Caucus.”

“It’s increasingly without strategy,” Republican Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, who voted against the motion Wednesday, told the Washington Examiner.

While it is easier for Democrats to push back, the rule change proposal might not be as easy of a solution as it seems.

“If Republicans are defecting on these votes in greater numbers, it’s to everyone’s interest to let this process continue to the point that they lose by an embarrassing bipartisan margin,” Green, the professor, said.

In years past, Democrats were the ones who excessively used the motion to adjourn as a delay tactic, particularly when Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, was speaker, Green noted.

“When they were in the minority, they got pretty upset and frustrated with Gingrich and Republicans, and they started using these motions. But sometimes they would lose so badly,” Green said, “they just sort of stopped.”

Usually, the number of motions to adjourn is fewer than 10 per Congress, but peaks during “periods when the minority party was especially unhappy with the majority, usually when the governing party wasn’t following ‘regular order’ or was using a particularly unfair floor rule or procedure,” according to Green’s research.

“Members of the minority would offer multiple motions in a day to really slow things down,” Green said.

The Georgia congresswoman, for her part, referred to Cicilline as “Mussolini” when asked about his proposal, adding that she plans to continue making motions to adjourn. That prompted outrage from Cicilline, who noted that he is Italian and Jewish.

Greene can “get lost,” he said.

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