The Republican-controlled House is taking up a bill to make it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. It is the first gun legislation in Congress since mass shootings in Nevada and Texas killed more than 80 people.
Republicans said the bill would allow gun owners to travel freely without worrying about conflicting state laws.
Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty says Republicans are catering to gun industry lobbyists by combining a bill on background checks with one making it easier to carry concealed guns across state lines.
Esty, who represents Newtown, calls the GOP maneuver ``an insult to the folks in Sandy Hook,'' a Newtown village where 20 school children and six adults were killed in 2012.
Esty says the background check measure would help ensure mental health and criminal records are loaded into a federal database. She says ``that will be a good thing to do.'' But she blasted Republicans for including the measure in a ``horrible bill'' that she said will overturn tough gun laws in states such as Connecticut and ensure that ``the lowest common denominator would reign for the entire country.''
The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says his agency anticipates being able to exercise regulatory control over devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire faster.
Thomas Brandon told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the ATF and the Justice Department wouldn't have initiated a review of whether bump stocks should be banned ``if that wasn't a possibility at the end.''
The Justice Department announced Tuesday a review of bump stocks to determine whether weapons using them should be considered illegal machine guns under federal law. They are currently legal and widely available.
The review comes after a Las Vegas gunman used the device during an October rampage that killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more.