No one takes a back seat to Connecticut Senator Chris murphy in anti-gun animus. And after yesterday’s horror in Las Vegas, he let it be know that failure to enact restrictions on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms is no longer an option. “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,” usatoday.com reports. “(T)he 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,”
And being seen as “doing something” is number one on his to-do list. As someone who no doubt keeps a folder full of gun control bill drafts in a drawer in his office, ready to go at a moment’s notice, he isn’t letting any grass grow under his legislative feet.
As thehill.com reports,
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is introducing legislation to expand gun background checks in the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 people and left more than 520 wounded or injured.
“I’ll be introducing a new background checks bill shortly,” Murphy told reporters on Monday.
Wait. Background checks? As multiple media outlets have reported, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the concert crowd with multiple long guns including AR-15-style rifles, some likely illegally converted to enable full-auto fire.
At least 23 firearms, including a handgun, were found in Mr. Paddock’s hotel suite, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Police Department said Mr. Paddock used multiple rifles during the attack.
A federal law enforcement official earlier said two rifles were outfitted with scopes and set up on tripods in front of two big windows. Another official said that among the weapons were AR-15-style assault rifles. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details of the investigation.
The problem with Senator Murphy’s background check bill is that Paddock apparently didn’t buy any of his guns illegally.
Two Nevada gun shops confirmed Monday that they sold firearms to Mandalay Bay shooter Stephen Paddock in the last year and said he passed all required background checks.
It was unknown if the weapons Paddock bought from the gun shops, New Frontier Armory in North Las Vegas and Guns and Guitars in Mesquite, were used in the casino massacre.
Police said they found 19 firearms, along with explosives and thousands of bullets, at Paddock’s home in Mesquite. Another 23 guns were found in his hotel room, officials said.
Now it’s been revealed that Paddock used at least one rifle equipped with a bumpfire stock to enable faster, full-auto-style fire. Will devices like that be next on his hit list?
“The fact is 80 other people died from guns yesterday and stronger background checks laws would have saved many of them,” he said.
With the death toll at Mandalay Bay was 59, you have to assume Murphy included other “normal” crime-related firearms deaths from around the country in that number. And since he hasn’t (yet) said he’ll give another federal Assault Weapons Ban the old UConn college try, he’s apparently made the judgment that a background check bill is the lowest-hanging anti-gun fruit with the greatest chance of success.
It’s an almost sure bet that Murphy’s (proposed) law won’t be the only such bill to be introduced in Congress in the days and weeks ahead. As Nick opined yesterday, we’re almost certain to see a plethora of new gun control efforts at both the federal and state levels. So another post Newtown-style gun control push seems to be in our immediate future. Stay tuned.