Will Congress take action on gun control debate, SD experts weigh in

Published: Oct. 4, 2017 at 10:44 PM CDT
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The mass shooting in Las Vegas is reigniting the gun control debate across the United States.

President Trump and members of the Republican Party are at odds with Democrats on the issue.

Congress worked to pass a weapons bill in 2013, but it was stopped by Republicans.

Again, the two parties find themselves at a gridlock and political experts say, if you're hoping for Congress to pass a bill regulating firearms, you're going to be waiting for a while.

“The world is such a scary place with everything going on,” Morgan Hoff from Brookings said.

“I was obviously devastated for those people,” Jacob Schumacher from Brookings said.

People across the country are united as they pray for victims and reel from the horror of the shooting in Las Vegas, but they are deeply divided when it comes to finding a solution.

“It’s not the guns that kill people and so people saying that gun control is the answer…I mean if people want guns, they're going to get them,” Hoff said.

“We definitely need more laws restricting who can access them, how long it takes to access them, just basic things like that,” Schumacher said.

The gun control debate is getting heated on Capitol Hill where President Donald Trump says now is not the time to have this conversation. South Dakota senators agree.

“I think the first thing we have to talk about is whether or not their intent is to simply take guns away from normal people,” Senator Mike Rounds said.

Senator Thune is sparking controversy for comments he made to the media.

“And in situations like that, as somebody said, stay safe, you know, get small,” Senator John Thune said.

But the South Dakota Democratic Party is pushing for Congress to do something.

“We have great respect for the Second Amendment in the Democratic Party and especially in the state of South Dakota…What we would like to see is a deeper step in the background process…Guns are really easy to access in this country. I think for instance, you can pick up a gun quicker than you can get registered to vote in this state,” South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director said.

South Dakota State University assistant political science professor, Lisa Hager says the division between parties is going to pump the brakes on the passage of any new gun laws through Congress.

“Both sides don't want to pass something that's going to take away gun rights if you're on the Republican side, or limit it just a little bit if you're more on that Democratic side. Democrats are really seeking that sweeping reform,” Hager said.

She says that grid lock could cause lawmakers to shy away from proposing new laws.

“Essentially, why pursue something that will go nowhere,” she said.

While many people are weighing in on this debate, Hager says it might not be till the next general election that pressure from the public can push Congress to pass some kind firearm regulation.

That being said, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein announced plans to introduce a law that would ban the sales of bump stocks.

Those are attachments that go on semi-automatic firearms that would make them function as an automatic weapon.

Bump stocks were used by the shooter in Las Vegas.