Congress members weigh in on calls for gun control from Washington

Local News

Recent mass shootings across the country have members of Congress calling on colleagues to take action when it comes to federal gun laws.

It’s also got firearms safety experts, like Dave Jenkins of Rochester Personal Defense, re-evaluating the way they teach courses. 

Just this week, a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a country music festival in Las Vegas from a room at the Mandelay Bay. That man, Stephen Paddock, had an arsenal of 23 weapons inside his hotel room, with thousands of rounds of ammunition. 59 people were killed and hundreds injured in the rampage.

Jenkins told News 8 the focus now is not just about how to handle a weapon, but how to limit your exposure to a threat.

“Mass crowd situations, if you’re out you know, how to be more aware. How to assess certain body language and certain indicators.” 

Jenkins is also an NRA instructor. he said the call for tighter gun legislation in Washington will only do harm to those who use firearms for legal means. 

“There’s going to be a lot of talk. There’s going to be a lot of posturing on both sides. Will anything substantial come of it? I’m going to take a wait and see attitude, but I don’t think so…Because I honestly don’t think there’s anything drastic that needs to be changed,” said Jenkins.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY-25th) is one of those Democrats calling for new legislation to combat gun violence.

“This is precisely the time. This is the worst [mass shooting] we’ve had, following fairly closely on the last one we had,” said Slaughter.

Several Republican members of Congress, like Rep. Chris Collins (R, NY-27th) said this type of call to action is an attempt to politicize a tragedy.

In a statement to News 8 on Tuesday, Collins said:

“My colleagues in Congress and I will continue to support legislation that keeps Americans safe while protecting their Second Amendment rights. Now’s the time for investigating this terrible tragedy, and not knee-jerk reactions that might make everyone feel good, but not address underlying problems.”

Though, Slaughter said something must be done to stop gun violence in the U.S.

“I wanted to have it after Newtown, desperately. I wanted to have it even before then. I wondered, why do we have a second amendment right? To live.”  

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