Las Vegas shooting spotlights pair of bills that would lift gun restrictions
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Following Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in U.S. history, gun control advocates are criticizing a pair of bills in Congress that would limit restrictions on silencers and nationalize concealed carry laws.
At least 58 were killed and 515 injured after a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a concert from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay.
The House has no plans for a vote on either measure, but here’s a closer look at the proposals and where they stand.
SILENCERS: Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (‘SHARE’) Act
A proposal tucked into the larger SHARE Act would effectively make it easier to buy a silencer by lifting restrictions and a federal tax on the accessory.
A sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., argues that the proposal, called the Hearing Protection Act, is focused on protecting law-abiding gun owners from hearing damage.
“My hearing has been damaged because of gun noise. Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss,” Duncan said in a statement when he introduced the bill.
Gun control advocates, including Hillary Clinton, argue that making silencers easier to purchase would make it difficult to hear gunshots, which could lead to more deaths in mass shootings.
The measure, which is supported by several House Democrats, was approved in committee in September but has yet to be scheduled for a floor vote in the House, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office.
CONCEALED CARRY: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act
The bill would nationalize concealed-carry laws that now vary across states. If you have a concealed carry permit in your state, the bill would allow you to carry in other states.
Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who sponsored the bill, say it doesn’t make it any easier to obtain a gun but rather gives lawful gun owners the ability to carry their firearms, subject to local restrictions.
“My bill is simple and common sense. It would provide law-abiding citizens the right to carry concealed and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting concealed-carry state codes or onerous civil suits,” Hudson wrote in a column in The Hill. “The individual would have to follow the laws of the state, county and municipality in which they are carrying concealed.”
Critics, including the United States Conference of Mayors, argue the bill would allow more firearms into cities and inhibit local law enforcement’s ability to combat gun violence.
The bill, which is among the National Rifle Association’s top legislative priorities, has the support of three Democrats in the House. Because it has not yet been considered by the relevant committee, it is unclear when it could come to the House floor vote a full vote.
CAN THESE BILLS PASS?
Both measures likely have the support of enough Republicans to clear the House over strong Democratic objections. But with the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, Democrats can likely prevent both from clearing Congress and getting signed into law.
Advocates for the measures are unlikely to stop pushing for their passage. The NRA, which supports both proposals, spent millions of dollars to support Trump’s election and sees both bills at top legislative priorities under GOP control of Congress and the White House.
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