Every major gun control bill proposed since the Las Vegas massacre is losing ground in Congress

A gunman killed 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

David Becker / Getty

There’s been little progress on major gun control legislation introduced into Congress since the deadly massacre in Las Vegas earlier this month. The push to ban bump stocks, implement tougher background checks, and enforce smart gun technology have all fallen by the wayside. A majority of voters support stricter gun laws, but there’s a lack of bipartisan support in Congress.

A little more than three weeks after a gunman killed 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas, gun control advocates are still pushing for legislation to help prevent future massacres, but most of the legislation has already stalled in Congress.

After it was revealed that the Las Vegas shooter used bump stocks to increase how fast he could shoot, there seemed to be wide bipartisan support for regulating accessories that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic ones. Even the National Rifle Association, a staunch pro-gun lobby, said it was willing to consider regulating bump stocks.

As with many gun control pushes, the effort has already fallen by the wayside despite the support.

A Politico poll released in October found that 64% of voters support stricter gun laws, but wide disparities exist between Republicans and Democrats. 83% of Democrats support stricter laws whereas 49% of Republican voters support them.

Here are all other bills introduced since the Las Vegas shooting that have fizzled out in Congress:

October 4: Bump stocks gain traction in Congress
Dianne Feinstein. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Three days after the Las Vegas shooting, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act to ban accessories like bump stocks that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.

“Automatic weapons have been illegal for more than 30 years, but there’s a loophole in the law that can be exploited to allow killers to fire at rates of between 400 and 800 rounds-per-minute," Feinstein said.

Some Republicans also said they were open to the idea of regulating bump stocks in the wake of the mass shooting.

The same day, October 4:
Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Smart gun technology, which provides safety features that would limit unauthorized use of firearms, has been on the rise in recent years. A few days after the Las Vegas massacre, Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts reintroduced the Handgun Trigger Safety Act.

More specifically, the bill would authorize grants to develop handgun technology and mandate that, within five years, all newly manufactured guns be used by only authorized users.

"We have technology that requires a fingerprint to operate an iPhone; we should do the same for a handgun. Smart gun technology is smart gun safety policy," Markey said.

Previous versions of the bill failed in Congress.

October 5: Democrats target the ‘Charleston loophole’

Kearston Farr comforts her daughter, Taliyah Farr, 5, as they stand in front of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where nine parishioners were shot and killed in 2015.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Another post-Las Vegas bill, introduced by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina in the House and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut in the Senate, aims to close the so-called "Charleston loophole" or "delayed denial."

This loophole, named after the shooting where a man killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, allows authorized dealers to transfer guns to a buyer after three business days if a background check is inconclusive by that time.

The shooter, Dylann Roof, had been charged with felony possession of a narcotic prescription drugs prior to the shooting. Those charges were pending at the time of the massacre, but Roof was able to get a gun anyway through a private transaction with his father.

The Background Check Completion Act would prohibit dealers, even private ones, from transferring a firearm at any time before a background check is completed. The bill is currently held up in the Senate and House Judiciaries.

Later, on October 5: Gun control advocates try to remove immunity protections for gun dealers and manufacturers
The NRA is one of the most powerful gun lobbies in the US. Getty

The same day as the introduction of the Background Completion Act, Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Adam Schiff of California introduced identical bills in the Senate and the House that would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

The PLCAA gives gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and trade associations immunity from being sued if crimes are committed with their products. The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would remove those protections.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control advocacy group, said the measure "incentivizes responsible business practices by gun manufacturers and dealers that would reduce gun injuries and death."

The NRA supports immunity protections. The group helped get the PLCAA passed in 2005.

October 10: Republicans propose their first gun control measure since Las Vegas
A bump fire stock, (L), that attaches to an semi-automatic assault rifle.

REUTERS/George Frey

Less than two weeks after Las Vegas, the effort to ban bump stocks made its way across party lines.

Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, a Republican, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a Democrat, introduced a bill similar to Sen. Feinstein’s Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act. This time, co-sponsors included a bipartisan group of representatives — 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

The measure aims "to prohibit the manufacture, possession, or transfer of any part or combination that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun."

Curbelo lauded the effort of both parties to work together on the issue.

"For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats," Curbelo said. "“This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights."

October 19: Bipartisan bill is referred to House committee as gun owners push back
Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo is a republican and the main sponsor of H.R.3999, the first bipartisan gun control bill to be introduced since the Las Vegas massacre.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File

The joint Republican and Democrat-sponsored gun control legislation was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations just nine days after it was introduced.

Gun owners, however, are pushing back. A petition on the WhiteHouse.gov website calls for the bipartisan bill to be rejected by Congress.

"Prevent law-abiding firearm owners from having their constitutional rights taken away," reads the petition, which already has more than 24,500 signatures as of Thursday.

October 25: Senator introduces a bill he knows will likely fail
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy. Alex Wong/Business Insider

On Wednesday, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy introduced legislation that would expand background checks for all gun purchases.

But in an interview with TPM, Murphy admitted that the bill is unlikely to pass through Congress, which has a Republican majority

Murphy said that even though the chances of it passing are "slim," the goal is to "strike fear" into Republican lawmakers.

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