In Wake of Las Vegas Shooting, Republicans Work to Loosen Restrictions on Guns 

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in
recent American history, which happened in a country where more
mass shootings happen than anywhere else in the world,
Republicans are championing bills that will make it even easier
for men like Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock to commit acts
of domestic terrorism.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that two bills are
making their way through a Republican-controlled Congress and,
according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have the votes
necessary to pass. The first bill, the Sportsmen Heritage and
Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, is a wide-ranging bill
that includes the Hearing Protection Act, a provision that weakens restrictions on
obtaining gun silencers. Critics say this would make it harder
to identify the source of the gunfire in a mass shooting.

“Incredibly, Congress is currently working on legislation that
would weaken our gun laws,” said Mark Kelly during a
press conference with his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
(D-Arizona), who was shot while meeting publicly with
constituents in 2011. “Imagine how much worse last night’s
shooting could’ve been if the gunman had a silencer. Imagine
the confusion for first responders if they arrived on the scene
to a bunch of civilians wielding their own guns, attempting to
return fire.”

“The nation is counting on you,” Giffords said during the same

In a March letter to Congress opposing
the Hearing Protection Act, the National Law Enforcement
Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence wrote, “The widespread and
uncontrolled distribution of silencers to an unwary civilian
population, combined with the sheer number of firearms freely
available in America is a step in the wrong direction and will
result in tragedy, including violence directed at police
officers that will be difficult or impossible to investigate

Also tucked into the bill, which was intended to loosen hunting
restrictions and is heavily supported by the NRA, is the
legalization of armor-piercing bullets, so long as they are
marketed for “sporting purposes.”

The bill was tabled after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was
shot at a Congressional baseball game in June. According to Politico,
Republicans were expecting to bring the bill to the House floor
soon, but in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, top Republican
leaders have not commented on their plans
for the bill. Several of them have, however, offered their
useless thoughts and prayers.

While the SHARE Act sounds terrifying, the second
Republican-backed measure is quite possibly even worse,
allowing gun owners from concealed-carry states to bring their
firearms into states that have tight restrictions on concealed
weapons. If the bill passes, then someone who carries a gun in
Nevada—which does not require a permit for carrying a concealed
weapon—would be able to bring that weapon to California or New
York without applying for a permit or undergoing a background
check, as required by state law.

Democrats, meanwhile, are again pushing for gun control. “Last
night’s massacre may go down as the deadliest in our nation’s
history, but already this year there have been more mass
shootings than days in the year,” said Sen. Chris Murphy
(D-Connecticut), who represents Newtown, the site of the Sandy
Hook massacre, in a statement.

“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my
colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that
they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this
epidemic,” he said. “There are, and the thoughts and prayers of
politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with
continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to
get off its ass and do something.”

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