WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats renewed calls for stricter gun control on the first anniversary of the nation’s worst mass shooting while President Trump said progress is being made toward “knocking out bump stocks” that enable a semi-automatic to fire like an automatic.
“It’s now been a year & Congress fails to take meaningful action to address gun violence. It’s past time we come together to make America safer,” tweeted Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).
Fifty-eight people were killed and 869 were wounded — 413 of those suffered gunshot or shrapnel wounds — when Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire Oct. 1 on a country music festival from his sniper’s perch in a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. An autopsy determined the cause of Paddock’s death to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound through his mouth and into his head; kleenex was found in the shooter’s ears.
The final investigative 187-page report on the massacre from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shut the door on religious or political motives, while declaring “investigators were unable to uncover or discover what Paddock’s motive may have been.”
Eighteen of Paddock’s 67 known legal firearms remain unaccounted for; authorities don’t know if they may have been sold or traded. A dozen bump stocks were discovered at the scene.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Christine Caria, a survivor of the shooting, penned a joint op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun declaring that “in just a few weeks, Americans will have the opportunity to make their voices heard at the ballot box by voting for ‘gun sense’ champions up and down the ballot.”
“At the federal level, less than a month after the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, several members of Congress and I introduced and cosponsored bipartisan legislation to close the bump stock loophole. These and other anti-gun violence measures have been blocked, at the bidding of the NRA, by Republican leadership that ignores the need for change,” said the op-ed.
“Congress must get back to work protecting Americans by passing legislation to ban the most dangerous, military-style assault weapons; ban bump stocks; and expand background checks to keep firearms out of the hands of those who cannot be trusted to handle them responsibly,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement.
In a Rose Garden press conference, Trump was asked about the anniversary and “some frustration that more hasn’t been done in that past year, more hasn’t been done about bump stocks.”
“So in order to eliminate, terminate bump stocks, we have to go through a procedure. We are now at the final stages of that procedure. In fact, the lawyers were just telling me, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to write it up. But you can’t just write it up, because rules and regulations in this country are really tough, even for something like that,” Trump replied. “So we’re knocking out bump stocks. I’ve told the NRA. I’ve told it, bump stocks are gone. But to do it, you have to go to public hearings, which we’ve had. You have to go through all sorts of regulatory control systems, and we are in the final couple of weeks, and I’ll be — is our attorney around someplace, please?”
“He said we’re in the final two or three weeks, and I’ll be able to write out bump stocks. But it’s a process that takes — statutorily, it takes about a year to do it,” the president added. “We’re working also with Congress on both sides. We are working on a lot of different things happening. That was a horrible thing. But we’re working on both sides of that question.”
Cortez Masto read the names of the Vegas victims on the Senate floor today.
“I don’t believe perfect healing is possible, but I do believe we can learn to adjust to the searing pain of tragedy,” she said.