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Lawmakers, Gun Control Groups React To Las Vegas Massacre

Connecticut and New York lawmakers and advocacy groups are responding to the aftermath of the shooting in Las Vegas, which left more than 58 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., says when he saw images from the scene early Monday morning he was heartbroken…and then furious.

“I hope that America reacts that way. And rises up and demands of Congress that it do more – and do better.” Blumenthal called the absence of action “complicity.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-CT3, says she's praying for the victims of the Las Vegas attack but says that’s not enough: she also wants to see stronger gun control.

“And do that with background checks. And I'm a strong proponent of outlawing assault weapons. That's what's going to keep the people in this country safe.”

Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., says thoughts and prayers are meaningless unless Congress takes action, tweeting:

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy says reports that law enforcement found as many as 20 guns in the Las Vegas shooter’s room should prompt Congress to finally take action on a federal universal background check for gun purchases.

“You can come to America, you can be a terrorist, you can be a felon or you can be a deranged person, and you have literally nothing stopping you from buying guns in this country. It doesn’t make any sense.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff until Friday in honor of the victims.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., says that this violence is a reminder of Congress's failure to stand up to the gun industry.

“The violence in Las Vegas is only the latest tragedy like this, mass shootings gets all the news, but every single day in our state gun violence on a much smaller scale is destroying more and more lives.”

Congress had been working on legislation to make it easier for citizens to buy silencers for their guns. Senator Gillibrand spoke out against the measure because she says noise suppressors make it difficult for police to track shooters. The bill has since been dropped. Gillibrand also wants gun trafficking to be seen as a federal crime.

Paul McQuillen, with the group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, says the Las Vegas incident once again highlights the inadequacies of the nation’s gun laws. He says Nevada allows assault style weapons, even machine guns, and has an open carry law for gun owners.   

“The shooter was just another good guy with a gun. In this case many guns. A cache of guns as they report, until he pulled the trigger and now he becomes a mass shooter. How do we keep those people from getting guns?”

New York has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but McQuillen says guns illegal in New York can still come in from neighboring states.

“States with very open gun laws like Ohio and Pennsylvania and the Iron Pipeline from the South bring guns into New York State. No, we’re not protected from that, because of that easy access. Because there’s no national gun policy, that’s what we need to have enacted.”

He says it’s OK for politicians to express condolences and say prayers for gun violence victims, but he says action needs to be taken.

Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy group founded after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 20 children and six educators, called for a renewed push for gun control legislation.

The group Newtown Action Alliance, also formed after the Sandy Hook shooting, put out multiple calls on Facebook and Twitter to ban assault rifles. The group said Congress should have banned what it called “weapons of war” after the Newtown shooting. This December will mark five years since that massacre.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.
Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.
Ann is an editor and senior content producer with WSHU, including the founding producer of the weekly talk show, The Full Story.