Sunday Talk Shows

Gun control dominates Sunday shows after Las Vegas massacre

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Gun control dominated discussions on Sunday morning political shows nearly a week after a gunman opened fire on the crowd at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 people.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on NBC’s “Meet the Press” called the U.S. a “gun-happy country.”

“And I think there are many of us in growing numbers that don’t want a gun-happy country,” she said. 

The California Democrat during another interview said that no law could have stopped the suspected gunman in the Las Vegas shooting.

“He passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions,” Feinstein said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Still, Feinstein has been pushing for new legislation in the wake of the mass shooting to ban “bump stocks,” the devices used by the suspected gunman, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly. During the CBS interview, she said there is “Republican interest” in the bill.

The California Democrat also said guns have their place, adding that she doesn’t have a problem if they are used properly.

“But what I have seen over the decades is a growth of substantial improper use of weapons,” she added.

Several lawmakers have renewed their calls for legislation after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has also called for new regulations on bump stocks.

Still, some lawmakers and officials argue that gun control measures wouldn’t be effective in preventing future mass shootings and continue to push for Second Amendment protections. 

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who is among those lawmakers pushing for a ban on bump stocks, saying Sunday he would be open to working with Republicans to advance a clean bill.

“I am willing to move forward with Republicans on banning these bump stocks,” Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think you have to walk before you run.”

He added that it’s an “important moment” as the NRA is speaking out for new regulations on the devices.

“I think they see that they were likely going to lose this fight in Congress and so now they’re trying to get it done through administrative action,” he said.

“But this is the first time that the gun lobby has shown a willingness to come to the table.”

Murphy said, however, that banning bump stocks would be a “fairly small change,” and called for more legislative measures to prevent gun violence.

“If we really want to have a downward trajectory on the number of mass shootings and the number of gun deaths every single day,” he said, “you’ve got to go far beyond just clarifying that people shouldn’t have automatic weapons.”

The Connecticut Democrat warned that one of the “traps” the gun lobby is setting is focusing on solutions that would have prevented the most recent mass shooting. 

Even though those incidents get all of the attention, Murphy said, Americans also need to focus on the fact that the U.S. has an unparalleled level of daily gun violence.

“And we have a responsibility to address all of that as well,” he said.

Republican lawmakers also appear open to new measures on bump stocks.

But they warn that many laws would not prevent mass shootings, which they say are often carried out by people who get their guns illegally.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on Sunday rejected the notion that there are too many guns in Americans’ hands, arguing that existing gun laws should be enforced.

“The problem is not that there are too many guns,” Scalise, who was shot over the summer at a GOP baseball practice, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“It’s that there are people that will go out and break the law, whether it’s a gun or some other weapon or a bomb.”

There’s no excuse for breaking the law or for anyone using a weapon to kill innocent people, he added.

He reiterated that the vast majority of gun violence and killings in the U.S are “committed by people who broke the law to get a gun.”

“But you go to a city like Chicago, some of the toughest gun laws in the country are in the city of Chicago, and yet they have the worst gun violence,” he said.

He added that there is never any focus on people who use guns to protect themselves.

Scalise also called for the enforcement of current gun laws, rather than trying to “put new laws in place that don’t fix these problems.”

“They only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own a gun,” he said.

When asked about the push to ban bump stocks, Scalise said he knows the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is being asked to go back and “review their 2010 decision to authorize it.”

“And I think they should, and they are,” he said.

His comments on bump stocks were echoed by Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.).

“I think that should be re-evaluated,” Taylor said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I’m not willing to impede on someone’s rights just because of emotional rhetoric.”

Still, even after the NRA last week called for new regulations on bump stocks, the group’s executive director said Sunday the group is not necessarily open to banning the devices.

“We don’t believe bans ever worked on anything,” Chris Cox said “Fox News Sunday” when asked whether the organization would support a ban on the devices. 

And the NRA’s chief executive officer went after Feinstein for pushing gun control legislation.

“I think you want to tell ATF to do its job. It’s an interpretive issue. And they need to get the job done,” Wayne LaPierre said on “Face The Nation,” when asked what Republicans supporting the NRA should do in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

“But not let Dianne Feinstein, which is what she wants to do, turn this all into some Christmas tree on the Hill where she brings all her anti-gun circus, she’s been trying to do for years, into this.”

He suggested greater gun control measures would likely not prevent people from getting their hands on guns if they wanted to commit violence.

“There’s not a gang member in Chicago, who’s going ‘hey I’m going to get you, but first I have to go through Dianne Feinstein’s background checks.’ It’s nonsense,” he said.

The renewed debate over gun control comes after more than 50 people were killed and hundreds were injured in Las Vegas.
Democrats and Republicans alike have voiced their support for banning bump stocks following the Las Vegas shooting. But many Democrats argue it is just the first step.
The White House said last week it is “open” to considering legislation that would ban bump stocks.
“We certainly welcome that,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of the debate on Capitol Hill surrounding bump stocks.
“We know that members of both parties and multiple organizations are planning to take a look at bump stocks and related devices,” she added. “We’d like to be a part of that conversation.” 
President Trump similarly said last week he is open to considering new measures on bump stocks.
“We’ll be looking into that over the next short period of time,” Trump said. 
Tags Bump stocks Chris Murphy Dianne Feinstein Las Vegas Sunday shows
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