The deadly Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Casino shooting has killed more than 50 people and left more than 200 wounded. The gunman fired during the closing act of a three-day country music festival on Sunday night, called the Route 91 Harvest Festival, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history. In contrast to this tragedy, there are a bevy of pro-gun bills moving through Congress currently, making it easier for people to buy, own, and use weapons.
In the upcoming months, there is a scheduled push by the GOP to loosen gun laws. The first being an upcoming bill co-sponsored by 165 Representatives heading to the House floor that will ease regulations on the purchase of gun silencers, called the Hearing Protection Act of 2017. Silencers are one of the most heavily regulated products in the gun industry, and those that want to deregulate them argue they are imperative to protect gun owners' hearing. Those against silencers argue they are necessary for public safety, especially with the country's problem with mass shootings. The bill will eliminate a $200 government tax that is attached to the purchase of suppressors, as well as cut out some of the extensive paperwork that's necessary to purchase one.
In addition to that, there is The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (or the SHARE Act,) which also aims to deregulate the use of silencers, for hunting sake. "Duncan and other proponents of his bill say silencers are popular with recreational shooters and hunters. The South Carolina Republican points out 40 states allow hunters to use such devices," Politico reported. Those that are in support of the bill argue that by restricting silencers, people are trying to restrict the pastime of hunting. "This legislation will ensure access and opportunity for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting now and for future generations," the NRA shared. For conservatives, this bill is meant to respect law-abiding gun owners and restrict the bureaucracy of big government, but those against the measure worry about what the easy access to gun mufflers will do to public safety. Hearing gun fire in public warns many people to run for cover and towards safety.
There is another measure moving through the House Judiciary Committee that will allow concealed carry permit holders to take their weapons across state borders, but only if that state also allows concealed carry weapons. "Your fundamental right to keep and bear arms should not end at the state line. This act would ensure that law-abiding citizens do not forfeit their ability to protect themselves as they travel from state to state," the NRA explained. Called the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 and drafted by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and co-sponsored by 212 Representatives, it allows an individual to move their weapon between concealed carry states.
Those against the bill worry that people could "permit shop" by getting their permits in states with less restrictions, and then using their guns in states that have stricter rules for weapons (for example, some states prevent domestic abusers from receiving permits and gaining access to hand guns.) This bill has the potential to override those restrictions, as well as have big government override state rules, which is something the GOP is usually against. "The measure would essentially force the localities to give full faith and credit to permits that are issued on less rigorous grounds, remove local governments’ ability to maintain sensible gun standards and keep a proper vetting process in place," The U.S. Conference of Mayors wrote in a resolution against the bill.
With the recent Las Vegas mass shooting tragedy, these bills might receive more contemplation this fall when they reach the Senate floor, especially if Senators hear from their constituents.
Here are some other ways you can help the victims in Las Vegas.