Will The Las Vegas Shooting Slow Bills That Seek To Expand Gun Rights? For How Long?

Democrats are urging House and Senate leaders to shelve consideration of a bill that would make it easier to purchase silencers for firearms, and another that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

By Rhonda FanningOctober 3, 2017 7:40 am|

It’s become a kinds of American routine. After a mass shooting, we hear somber statements from the president and members of Congress, someone calls for a change in gun laws, then someone else responds with “How dare you politicize this terrible tragedy.”

The script is playing out again after the Las Vegas shooting. Democrats were quick to appeal to House Speaker Paul Ryan to pull two proposed bills: one that would make buying silencers easier, and another that would allow permitted gun owners to carry concealed firearms across state lines. Texas Senator John Cornyn, one of the latter bill’s authors, told reporters yesterday “I just think politicizing this terrible tragedy is beyond disgusting,”

Louis Nelson a reporter for Politico, says the silencer bill, whose official name is “The Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” deals with noise suppressors. The bill would remove some federal restrictions on silencers for guns. The second bill allows permitted gun owners who act within the law of their own state to travel and be protected from prosecution for violating more restrictive gun laws in other states.

In the wake of a shooting in Virginia during a congressional baseball practice earlier this year, the silencer bill had already been slowed down by Republicans in Congress. The two pieces of legislation were likely to face filibusters in the Senate, where they would need some Democratic support to pass, Nelson says. For the time being, however, Nelson believes there will be significantly less momentum behind any pro gun rights legislation. He says only time will tell whether Congress will actually take any action on the bills.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has called Cornyn’s statement about politicizing a tragedy a “stall technique.” Democrats like Murphy believe this is exactly the time to talk about gun restrictions, when the issue is freshest in people’s minds, and when people are forced to confront the reality of guns in America. They want action, not silence, Murphy says.

Written by Dani Matias.