Hope dim­ming for gun con­trol bills

Ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion may sup­plant leg­is­la­tion

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - #VEGASSTRONG: HOPE AND HEALING - By Gary Martin Re­view-jour­nal Wash­ing­ton Bu­reau

WASH­ING­TON — A flurry of gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion has been filed in Con­gress fol­low­ing the Strip shoot­ing, but prospects for leg­isla­tive ac­tion have dimmed as GOP lead­ers look to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for an ad­min­is­tra­tive rem­edy.

The most re­cent bill was filed Thurs­day, when Reps. Dina Ti­tus, D-nev., and El­iz­a­beth Esty, D-conn., whose con­gres­sional district in­cludes New­town, un­veiled leg­is­la­tion to limit high-ca­pac­ity am­mu­ni­tion clips.

Ti­tus told a Capi­tol Hill news con­fer­ence that af­ter the Oct. 1 shoot­ing, “Ne­vadans want and de­serve ac­tion to up­end the sta­tus quo.”

She said Clark County Sher­iff Joe Lom­bardo, in charge of the shoot­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said there is no need for high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines.

“Now is the time for Con­gress to hold hear­ings, de­bate mea­sures and pass laws that will save lives and pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties,” Ti­tus said.

Co-spon­sors of the bill in­clude Ne­vada Democrats Jacky Rosen and Ruben Ki­huen.

Ki­huen called it in­com­pre­hen­si­ble that Con­gress has failed to act af­ter re­peated mass shoot­ings have oc­curred in towns across the na­tion.

He said the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing “could have been pre­vented.”

The Esty bill is the third to be filed in the House since a gun­man fired at the Route 91 Har­vest fes­ti­val crowd, killing 58 peo­ple and in­jur­ing hun­dreds more.

The shoot­ing is largely dif­fer­ent from the Dec. 14, 2012, tragedy at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, where a 20-year-old man en­tered the build­ing and shot six adults and 20 first-graders.

In both at­tacks, the shoot­ers used semi-au­to­matic ri­fles and high-ca­pac­ity ammo clips.

Since the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing, law­mak­ers have filed leg­is­la­tion in the House and Sen­ate to ban bump stocks and other de­vices that in­crease the rate of fire from semi-au­to­matic weapons. The Las Ve­gas shooter had equipped sev­eral ri­fles with bump stocks.

A bi­par­ti­san bill, filed in the House by Reps. Car­los Curbelo, R-fla., and Seth Moul­ton, D-mass., would make it il­le­gal to own or man­u­fac­ture bump stock de­vices. In ad­di­tion to Curbelo, nine other Repub­li­cans co-spon­sored the leg­is­la­tion.

Ki­huen and Rosen are Demo­cratic co-spon­sors.

But Con­gress has not passed gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion since the 1990s, when Democrats held con­trol of the House and Sen­ate.

And House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-wis., said ear­lier this week that the best way to ad­dress the is­sue of bump stocks was not leg­isla­tive ac­tion. Ryan said the “quick­est fix” would be for the Bu­reau of Al­co­hol, Tobacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives to ad­min­is­tra­tively out­law the de­vices.

The ATF ruled the de­vices le­gal in 2010 un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

House and Sen­ate Repub­li­cans, along with the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, the largest group in the na­tion’s gun rights lobby, have urged an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­view of the law by the ATF.

In the Sen­ate, Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles Grass­ley, R-iowa, said he would en­ter­tain a hear­ing on a bill filed by Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, D-calif., to ban bump stocks and other de­vices be­cause of GOP sup­port for the bill. That leg­is­la­tion is co-spon­sored by Sen. Cather­ine Cortez Masto, D-nev.

With­out Re­pub­li­can sup­port, gun con­trol mea­sures would be stopped in the Gop-con­trolled House and Sen­ate.

Fe­in­stein in­tro­duced a bill fol­low­ing the New­town school tragedy. Repub­li­cans then said the bill would have re­in­stated the fed­eral as­sault weapons ban of the 1990s. It failed in the Sen­ate by a large mar­gin.

The Las Ve­gas shoot­ing prompted her to file leg­is­la­tion again. She said the bill would close a loop­hole that al­lows semi-au­to­matic weapons to be con­verted to nearly full au­to­matic weapons, which have been il­le­gal for 30 years.

“The only rea­son to fire so many rounds so fast is to kill large num­bers of peo­ple,” she said. “No one should be able to eas­ily and cheaply mod­ify le­gal weapons into what are es­sen­tially ma­chine guns.”

Con­tact Gary Martin at 202-6627390 or gmartin@re­viewjour­nal. com. Fol­low @gary­martindc on Twit­ter.

Gary Martin

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal Rep. Dina Ti­tus, D-nev., un­veils leg­is­la­tion to limit high-ca­pac­ity am­mu­ni­tion clips at a Capi­tol Hill news con­fer­ence. With her are co-spon­sors, from left, Reps. Ruben Ki­huen, D-nev., Jacky Rosen, D-nev., and Ted Deutch, D-fla.

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