The actions of Stephen Paddock were acts of domestic terrorism. There is no reason to call them by any other name. Yet, even now, while the nation is reeling from the shooting in Las Vegas that resulted in the death of at least 59 people and left more than 500 people injured, Congress is planning to vote on the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act (H.R. 3668). The House Natural Resources Committee has already approved it, and took steps to fast track it. The next step is for the leaders of Congress to schedule a vote.
One controversial part of the bill is the silencer provision, which the NRA says is necessary to protect the hearing of hunters. Can you imagine if Stephen Paddock had silencers on his weapons? At the moment it seems likely that the House leaders will pull this provision from the bill, at least for now.
The second bill that is worrisome is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38). If this bill becomes law it would force states to recognize other states’ permits for concealed carry. Thus, a state with very lax gun laws regulating concealed carry permits would become the standard for all states.
Even before the nation has had time to grieve the deaths of so many people and the gunshot injuries of so many more, Congress and the NRA may move ahead with some version of the SHARE Act and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. True, no vote is scheduled at the moment, but do not expect these bills to be pulled.
It is well past time to turn our grief into action. There are many ways to protect the rights of gun owners and public safety. H.R. 3668 and H.R. 38 need to be defeated.