Nevada Representatives Respond to Call for Gun Control Following Shooting
The shooting in Las Vegas has thrown the gun control debate back into the spotlight. On Wednesday, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto put forward some new legislation, and in Las Vegas, Nevadans are rallying for change.
The shooting in Las Vegas has thrown the gun control debate back into the spotlight, in Nevada and in Washington, DC.
On Wednesday, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto put forward some new legislation, and here at home, Nevadans are rallying for change.
"Anybody, a known terrorist, a convicted violent felon, anybody can walk into a gun show here in Las Vegas and purchase an arsenal of assault weapons," Matthew De Falco of Nevada Veterans for Common Sense said during a press conference for gun reform.
Gun control advocates rallied in Las Vegas, asking representatives to pass what they call "common sense gun reform." That includes implementing and enforcing stricter background checks, closing loopholes, and limiting sales of certain firearms and accessories.
In Washington, DC, lawmakers pulled from discussion a bill that would have made gun silencers easier to purchase. And on Wednesday, they introduced two pieces of legislation, which would ban the sale of bump stocks, which the Las Vegas shooter used to modify his weapons and make them fire more quickly.
Senator Cortez Masto is cosponsoring the Senate version of that bill, and representatives Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen, and Jacky Rosen have come out in favor of the House version. Senator Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei have not weighed in on them yet, but Heller did address the general gun control conversation in an interview with Channel 2 Wednesday.
"I think the dialogue does need to happen," Heller said, "and it does occur every time a horrific event happens. We'll have the same discussion and see where it goes from there, but right now probably is not the right time."
Advocates don't agree. They said with a mass shooting nearly every day in the United States, there's never a "right time."
"When elementary school kids were killed in Connecticut, that wasn't the time," Battle Born Progress Deputy Director Maria Teresa Liebermann said. "Movie goers getting shot enjoying their night? That wasn't the time. When will it be the time?"
The speakers at the rally called out Attorney General Adam Laxalt in particular, asking him to enforce the background check initiative passed on the Nevada ballot in 2016.
Laxalt responded with this statement:
"In December, the FBI said they will not conduct the background checks required by the Background Check Act. Without the FBI's involvement, the central function of the Act cannot be implemented. In response to a request by the governor's Department of Public Safety, we issued a legal opinion based on the FBI's position. It is not the attorney general's role to block or implement any act, and obviously the opinion issued by my office did neither. We simply analyzed the law based on the facts we were provided. It is important to note that Sunday's tragedy would not have been prevented by the Background Check Act. The attacker purchased the weapons legally after passing the background check process. He did not have a history of mental illness or a criminal record. My heart breaks for those who lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, family and friends on Sunday night. These were defenseless, innocent victims. They were people like you and me who were spending the evening enjoying music and each other's company, completely unaware of the danger around them. I continue to pray for them and for those still fighting for their lives. The sickening actions of a madman have changed our city, our State and our country forever. But we are stronger than the evil he embodied. We need to come together now as Nevadans and continue to keep the victims and their families in our prayers, and express gratitude for our police officers and first responders."
And Senator Catherine Cortez Masto responded with this statement:
As our community continues to support one another and provide comfort to hundreds injured and the families of those murdered, I want the people of Las Vegas, and the Great State of Nevada, to know I am going to be a strong voice for common sense gun legislation in the United States Senate. Today, I am working with Senator Diane Feinstein and my colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation to end the ‘bump stocks’ loophole.
While I understand that all of the facts are still being gathered from the tragic events on Sunday night, it is increasingly clear that this loophole allowed a single person to kill and injure hundreds of innocent people and threaten over 22,000 concert goers. It is the responsibility of Congress to protect the public safety of the American people and work in good faith to prevent the deaths of innocent Americans where it can be prevented. And it can. There is no reason for anyone to own a gun accessory that turns a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun.
When I return to Washington, I will continue to be a strong voice in the United States Senate for common sense public safety legislation like background checks, and bills to prevent the mentally ill and terrorists from buying guns. This bill cannot fix the scars of Sunday night, but it can and must be a starting point to stop future ones from ever being inflicted.