Week in Review: Oct. 2-9

The Courage to Act: Now is the Time to Talk about Gun Politics

USA Today: Gabby Giffords calls on Congress to ‘find the courage’ to address gun violence: Giffords’ husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, said he and his wife are “heartbroken” and “angry,” and the “thoughts and prayers” being offered by the White House and members of Congress aren’t enough. “Your thoughts and prayers aren’t going to stop the next shooting,” Kelly said. “Only actions and leadership will do that.”

Washington Post Op-Ed: Mark Kelly – Now is exactly the right time to talk about gun politics: Not the right time to talk about politics? Gabby and I have come to reject this. Every day of her life since the shooting, Gabby has honored those hurt and killed alongside her by working to enact policies that will prevent others from experiencing this terrible pain. Don’t let anyone tell you not to talk about politics when we talk about guns. Gabby got into politics because she wanted to govern. The people we elect can take us backward, condemning us to many more days when we wake up to more carnage and more lives lost — or if we make them, they will take us forward, toward a safer country.

The Guardian Op-Ed: Shannon Watts: Americans want better gun laws. We can’t let lobbyists stop us: Our country is at a defining moment: do we want to keep experiencing these horrific shooting tragedies because the gun lobby has convinced Congress that we should allow guns for anyone, anywhere, any time – no questions asked? Or will we demand safety in our daily lives – at church, school, concerts and movie theaters? Because we do have a choice, and I urge every person who is as disgusted and horrified by this routine violence to make their voice heard.

New York Times Op-Ed: Why Do We Ignore Initiatives That Reduce Gun Violence? In the Sunday Times, Michael McBride and Antonio Cediel of PICO, Amber Goodwin of the Community Justice Reform Coalition and Ciera Walker of Live Free Chicago called bipartisan support at the federal, state and local levels for programs that can get results right now, because in cities across our country, gun murders every bit as tragic as the ones that took place in Las Vegas are happening every day.

Elected Leaders Demand Action Now

Variety: John Lewis Pushes for Gun Control in Wake of Las Vegas Shooting: ‘How Many More Must Die?’: Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) led almost all of the House Democrats down the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday for a brief event to respond to the Las Vegas shooting massacre, asking those gathered, “How many more must die?”“How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress?” Lewis asked, with fellow Democrats standing next to him along with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot at a constituent event in Tucson in 2011.

Washington Post OpEd by Senator Chris Murphy: Mass Shootings are an American Problem. There is an American Solution. I find it important to remind myself that mass shootings happen almost nowhere else but the United States. As we become normalized to the regular pace of massive, execution-style killings — Sandy Hook, Charleston, Orlando and now Las Vegas — it’s critical to understand that the Groundhog Day phenomenon of horrific mass shootings is exclusive to the United States. I find consolation in this fact, because if the problem is particularly American, then the solution can be, too.

Politico: Pelosi calls on Ryan to form select committee to curb gun violence: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday urged Speaker Paul Ryan to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence that would craft “common sense legislation” in the wake of a Las Vegas shooting that has left at least 59 people dead and injured more than 500.

Cultural Influencers Speak Out about Gun Violence in America

New York Times: Country Stars React to Las Vegas Shooting ‘I cannot express how wrong I was’: Country music artists and other performers expressed words of sympathy as well as frustration over gun violence on Monday as they mourned the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert. One guitarist who played there said that the killings had changed his views on gun laws.

Washington Post: Late-night hosts get serious, plead for Congress to address gun control after Las Vegas Massacre: Trevor Noah and James Corden were in disbelief over American gun culture. Conan O’Brien was devastated to realize how many times he’s had to talk about mass shootings. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers urged Congress to take action on gun control. Jimmy Fallon stayed true to his entertainment-first roots and had Miley Cyrus and Adam Sandler open the show with Dido’s “No Freedom.”

Hollywood Reporter: Hollywood Heartbroken, Calling for Gun Control Over Las Vegas Shooting: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ava DuVernay, Andy Cohen, Bette Midler and Sir Elton John were among those sharing their thoughts on the tragedy on social media.

USA Today: Sports world reacts to Las Vegas Shooting: Athletes and sports teams throughout the U.S. have expressed their condolences to those affected by the horrific attack at a Las Vegas music festival late Sunday.

Law Enforcement & Veterans React

60 Minutes: Las Vegas officers describe storming shooter Stephen Paddock’s hotel room: The gunman at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas who shot into a crowd of thousands did it from a room on the 32nd floor. He may have killed many more if not for a security guard who arrived on the floor within 12 minutes of the onset of the attack.  Soon, a small group of Las Vegas police arrived. They organized themselves into an ad-hoc SWAT team and began storming room 135.

DailyBeast: Las Vegas Killer Had Better Rifles Than the U.S. Military: The rifles Paddock used are so powerful and potentially prolific that he didn’t need training to inflict dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. What Paddock apparently lacked in experience he made up for with preparation, opportunity, and deadly accurate hardware.

WHYY: N.J. and Philly police react to Las Vegas massacre: The tragedy could have happened on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, or anywhere in America, but in Las Vegas, the situation was more complicated because the city draws large crowds of people to countless events happening simultaneously. While this mass shooting may change hotel security, “our elected officials don’t have the courage” to change gun laws, Ramsey said.

PhillyVoice: Las Vegas highlights need for change in our national gun policy: Even former Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led the war in Afghanistan, believes military grade weapons – like those used in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Aurora, and Newtown, and the list goes on – do not belong in the hands of civilians.

Gun Owners, GOP & NRA Admit Restrictions Matter

Washington Post: Top Gun Control Advocate: GOP embrace of ‘bump stock’ restrictions is progress: The leader of a prominent gun-control advocacy group said Friday that the willingness of the National Rifle Association and congressional Republicans to consider new restrictions on an accessory used in Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas represents a potential watershed moment. “It is an acknowledgment by the Republicans that a law does matter — that laws matter, period,” said Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions and husband of Democratic former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whom a gunman badly wounded in a 2010 attack.

New York Times: Confessions of a Sensible Gun Owner: This is my reality as a gun owner: I use guns for an activity I love, but I also worry about gun violence. Like most Americans, I want stronger gun laws such as nationwide universal background checks. I don’t support the National Rifle Association, which seems as if it’s just a few years away from arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees our right to buy nuclear warheads. (On Thursday the N.R.A. did make a rare concession, suggesting that a federal agency reconsider the legality of devices like those used by the Las Vegas shooter to make semiautomatic weapons fire almost as rapidly as automatic ones.) I’m not alone in this position: Approximately 90 percent of gun owners do not belong to the N.R.A.

Congress Must Look Beyond Bump Stocks, Enact Big Picture Solutions

Vice: A bump stock ban would barely affect gun violence in America: Ari Freilich, an attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, called a bump stock ban “an important step to ensuring we can address the legality of mass carnage event. Still, he cautioned, “Mass shootings are horrific, we need to address them, but they’re also only a small sliver of gun violence.” Also worth remembering: Most mass shootings don’t involve bump stocks. A prohibition on bump stocks would be a real step, Freilich said, but there are many other moves that would reduce the ability of shooters to kill large numbers of people, such as restricting access to military-style weaponry and high-capacity magazines and requiring gun stores to report more mass purchases.

New York Times: N.R.A. and G.O.P., Together Forever: We’ve seen this before, and it is a script written by the National Rifle Association. The N.R.A.’s blessing of restrictions on bump stocks — devices that make semiautomatic weapons fire faster — is designed to pre-empt anything more serious by giving the illusion of action. It substitutes accessory control for actual gun control.

Wall Street Journal: Do Something, Anything, About Gun Violence: The lack of notification for multiple rifle purchases creates a loophole where people can stockpile assault weapons with little federal detection….It is impractical to detect and cure people with mental disorders, so the only effective approach to eliminate or minimize mass shootings is to restrict access to guns….If guns were under similar laws, it might not stop all killers, but I bet it would stop some and certainly hinder others.

Tipping Point: Campaigns & Politicians Back Away from NRA Support

Washington Post: After Las Vegas, Democratic House members donate their past NRA contributions: Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who once held an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association and reaped thousands of dollars in donations from the group, donated a matching sum this week to three prominent gun-control organizations.The groups that benefited from the donations each publicly thanked Ryan, and Mark Kelly, the co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, told reporters Friday that the gift marked an ironic milestone for his group. “We just raised money from the NRA,” he said.

GoMN.com: MN gubernatorial candidate gives away NRA campaign funding: Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tim Walz donated his campaign contribution from the NRA, nearly $19k, to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. He also announced opposition to legislation to reduce restrictions on gun silencers.

New York Times: In Virginia, Gun Control heats Up the Governor’s Race: Gun safety advocates call on Gillespie to release the questionnaire he filled out for the Virginia N.R.A. Virginians deserve to see Gillespie’s responses to questions asking if he favors ending permits for concealed weapons and allowing concealed handguns in K-12 schools.

Roll Call: Gun Control Movement Turns to Campaigns: As advocates grapple with raising resources and whether they should support one party, or two, they do see a general uptick in candidates who at least talk about gun violence. Chelsea Parsons, who focuses on guns and crime policy at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, pointed out that voters largely support gun control laws. “When candidates embrace those issues, really they are catching up to where their voters are,” Parsons said.

Gun Lobby-Backed Silencer Bill Faces Surge of Criticism

Huffington Post: Almost Nobody Wants to Loosen Regulations on Gun Silencers. Not Even Gun Owners: The move to deregulate silencers lacks support even among some key pro-gun constituencies. Just 34 percent of those who voted for President Donald Trump are in favor of the change, while 52 percent of them oppose it. A majority of gun owners are also against it. Forty-nine percent of Americans with a favorable view of the National Rifle Association say such restrictions should not be loosened, and only 38 percent say they should.

Washington Post: In Wake of Las Vegas Shooting, No Plans to Bring Gun Silencer Bill to Vote: House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) acknowledged that the Las Vegas shooting was a “complicating issue” with the bill — though he did not rule out that it could come to the floor later in the current Congress. “Nobody wants to bring up something when there’s something like that,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to bring up any difficult issue.”

USA Today: After Las Vegas massacre, the sound of silencers: Gun laws in America are already so weak, it must be tough to find ways to make them even looser. But you’ve got to give gun lobbyists credit. They’ve come up with some new ideas and found allies in Congress to promote them, even as the nation mourns the 58 people mowed down at a music festival in Las Vegas. At the top of the wish list: a push to make it easier to buy gun silencers and harder to restrict armor-piercing bullets. These ideas would, at best, place the convenience of gun owners over the safety of the public. At worst, they would put innocent people and police officers in graver danger.