Vegas shooting pressures US Congress for firearms legislation

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 05.10.2017 23:02
Updated 05.10.2017 23:09
An LAPD officer stands before collected assault weapons during the LAPD Gun Buyback Program event  in the Van Nuys area of north Los Angeles,  on December 26, 2012. (AFP Photo)
An LAPD officer stands before collected assault weapons during the LAPD Gun Buyback Program event in the Van Nuys area of north Los Angeles, on December 26, 2012. (AFP Photo)

Members of U.S. Congress discussed gun regulations on Thursday following Sunday's worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history in Los Vegas, Nevada.

Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan showed unusual willingness to discuss gun regulations, specifically in regards to "bump stock" gun accessories which enable rifles to become rapid-fire devices, as used by Los Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) added its support for a review the device's legality, a rare break from its resolute pro-gun position.

"The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations," NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox wrote in a statement.

Bump stocks were deemed legal in 2010, intended to aid people with limited hand mobility to fire semi-automatic weapons with a single trigger pull.

Despite increasing scale and frequency of gun-related tragedies, gun control continues to be a contested issue in American politics and society. Gun rights supporters have long stood by Article 2 of the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which states the right to acquire weapons.

Significant financial contributions of powerful lobby groups such as the NRA hinder Republican legislators from taking serious steps toward regulating gun sales.

According to the Center for Responsible Politics, Republicans have recently received $54 million in support from the NRA compared to $265 received by Democrats.

However, tragedies like the Los Vegas incident and last June's Orlando night club shooting may be softening public support of gun rights.

According to Pew Research's latest data, 47 percent of Americans continue to support the right to acquire weapons, while 51 percent favor arms control.

Pew's investigation also indicated that 68 percent of Americans favored a ban on attack weapons.

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