Television offers fictional stories and real stories along with public affairs programming.
Fiction : Law and Order “Gunshow”
NYPD detectives Briscoe and Green investigate a shooting rampage in Central Park, during which there were 15 people killed and 12 wounded within a minute.
Using the serial number of the gun they’ve recovered, they find the owner, Dennis Trope. On the advisement of Detective Green, Trope pleaded guilty to the murders and was subsequently sentenced to 15 concurrent terms of a minimum of 25 years in prison. Prosecuting attorney Jack McCoy learns that the gun could be turned into an automatic weapon using an inexpensive kit you can buy at any gun show, he decides to go after the manufacturer. Trope testified that he was able to convert the weapon within a half an hour. At the conclusion of the episode, the jury returns a guilty verdict against the manufacturer. However, the trial judge sets aside the jury verdict and issues a directed verdict of not guilty, explaining that the case was certain to be overturned on appeal.
Gun manufacturers are immune from prosecution for any crimes committed by owners of their weapons by act of Congress.
Real : Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock assembled a small arsenal in room 32135 of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where investigators found 23 weapons — 22 rifles and a handgun. Of those, twelve bump fire stock devices were found at the scene. 58 people were killed and over 400 were injured after Paddock fired for roughly ten minutes from his hotel room.
Public Affairs : Minnesota Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen answered questions on KSTP’s At Issue.
Law and Order “Gunshow” was broadcast in 1999, while Congressman Paulsen broadcast was today.
Congressman Paulsen said he had never heard of “bump stocks” … yet they have been around for years. It’s a patented product. Bump fire stocks allowed for the recoil to actuate the trigger at a rate of 90 bullets in 10 seconds.
Congressman Paulsen said he would support efforts by Congressmen Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) to ban the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks.” .
OK … it’s a start … a half measure (if you can even call this limited proposal as addressing the problem of mass shootings in America).
Is the problem really “bump stocks” ????
Will it make anyone feel any safer thinking that in a mass shooting that the weapons were only “semi-automatic” ?
Congressmen Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) have tried before … like after the Orlando shooting of July 12, 2016, when 49 people were fatally shot and 53 were injured at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
Congressman Paulsen did not cosponsor their bill … and the Republican-controlled House failed to allow a vote.
The Congressmens comments then were just as appropriate today …
Rep. Carlos Curbelo : “We must protect Americans from the ever increasing threat of terrorism and violent acts of hatred here at home while we fight radical jihadists overseas. After the horrific massacre in Orlando, and countless other mass shootings across the country, the American people want answers. Congress must act”
Rep. Seth Moulton : “Our constituents didn’t send us to Washington to stand in silence. They sent us to Washington to keep our communities safe. This bipartisan bill will help to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists and those who seek to do our country harm. It’s time to put party aside and come together to make progress for the American people.”
Once again, is the problem really “bump stocks” ????
49 dead in Orlando without “bump stocks” versus 58 dead when “bump stocks” may have been used.
Or, is the problem really Congress ???
Specifically, certain members of Congress … there are plenty of Republicans that are willing to act … Representatives Dan Donovan [R-NY-11], Peter King[R-NY-2], Pat Meehan [R-PA-7], Ilena Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL-27] are a few that have sponsored legislation.
Congressman Paulsen, acknowledged his NRA endorsement, but said he always votes in what is in the best interest of his constituents.
Well, it’s up to his Third District constituents to tell him … are you okay with a half measure … or do you want more action to address gun violence.
If so, tell Congressman Paulsen to join other Republicans (and Democrats) by sponsoring H.R.1475 – Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2017.
Plus there are a number of other proposals that Democrats have offered :
H.Res.90 — Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that gun violence is a public health issue and Congress should enact by the end of the 115th Congress comprehensive Federal legislation that protects the Second Amendment and keeps communities safe and healthy, including expanding enforceable background checks for all commercial gun sales, improving the mental health system in the United States, and making gun trafficking and straw purchasing a Federal crime.
H.Res.367 — Establishing the Select Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.
H.R.62 — Gun Violence Reduction Resources Act of 2017
H.R.163 — Gun Manufacturers Accountability Act
H.R.1079 — Campus Gun Policy Transparency Act
H.R.1478 — Gun Violence Research Act
H.R.1612 — Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2017
H.R.2380 — Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2017
H.R.2598 — Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017
H.R.3361 — SECURE Firearm Storage Act
H.R.3987 — To reduce gun violence, fund gun violence research and victim assistance, and enhance the tracking of lost and stolen firearms, and for other purposes.
It should not take another mass shooting for Congress to act … and Congressman Paulsen cannot claim that he is unaware of this issue anymore.