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The ‘biggest piece of climate legislation’ in history is destined to be forgotten

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters about the agreement he reached with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., following months of negotiations on health care, energy, climate issues, and tax initiatives, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Aug. 1, 2021. Manchin returned to the Senate after a week away to recover from COVID-19.

Commentary, August 2022

Do you remember the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” the first piece of federal gun-control legislation to be signed into law in 30 years? Voters don’t.

This week, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey measuring the electorate’s priorities ahead of November’s midterm elections found “gun violence” ranks as the second biggest issue on voters’ minds, below inflation and gas prices but outranking health-care costs and even “abortion access.” That makes sense. The problem of “gun violence” in the public’s perception relates to the terrifying randomness of mass shootings, the horror of gang violence, and even the prevalence of private firearm ownership. This law—indeed, no law—could comprehensively address these concerns.

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