- There’s been little progress on major gun control legislation introduced into Congress since the deadly massacre in Las Vegas earlier this month.
- The push to ban bump stocks, implement tougher background checks, and enforce smart gun technology have all fallen by the wayside.
- A majority of voters support stricter gun laws, but there’s a lack of bipartisan support in Congress.
A little more than three weeks after a gunman killed 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas, gun control advocates are still pushing for legislation to help prevent future massacres, but most of the legislation has already stalled in Congress.
After it was revealed that the Las Vegas shooter used bump stocks to increase how fast he could shoot, there seemed to be wide bipartisan support for regulating accessories that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic ones. Even the National Rifle Association, a staunch pro-gun lobby, said it was willing to consider regulating bump stocks.
As with many gun control pushes, the effort has already fallen by the wayside despite the support.
A Politico poll released in October found that 64% of voters support stricter gun laws, but wide disparities exist between Republicans and Democrats. 83% of Democrats support stricter laws whereas 49% of Republican voters support them.
Here are all other bills introduced since the Las Vegas shooting that have fizzled out in Congress:
October 4: Bump stocks gain traction in Congress
Three days after the Las Vegas shooting, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act to ban accessories like bump stocks that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.
“Automatic weapons have been illegal for more than 30 years, but there’s a loophole in the law that can be exploited to allow killers to fire at rates of between 400 and 800 rounds-per-minute,” Feinstein said.
Some Republicans also said they were open to the idea of regulating bump stocks in the wake of the mass shooting.
The same day, October 4:
Smart gun technology, which provides safety features that would limit unauthorized use of firearms, has been on the rise in recent years. A few days after the Las Vegas massacre, Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts reintroduced the Handgun Trigger Safety Act.
More specifically, the bill would authorize grants to develop handgun technology and mandate that, within five years, all newly manufactured guns be used by only authorized users.
“We have technology that requires a fingerprint to operate an iPhone; we should do the same for a handgun. Smart gun technology is smart gun safety policy,” Markey said.
Previous versions of the bill failed in Congress.
October 5: Democrats target the ‘Charleston loophole’
Another post-Las Vegas bill, introduced by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina in the House and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut in the Senate, aims to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” or “delayed denial.”
This loophole, named after the shooting where a man killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, allows authorized dealers to transfer guns to a buyer after three business days if a background check is inconclusive by that time.
The shooter, Dylann Roof, had been charged with felony possession of a narcotic prescription drugs prior to the shooting. Those charges were pending at the time of the massacre, but Roof was able to get a gun anyway through a private transaction with his father.
The Background Check Completion Act would prohibit dealers, even private ones, from transferring a firearm at any time before a background check is completed. The bill is currently held up in the Senate and House Judiciaries.