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In response to deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, lawmakers offer ‘thoughts and prayers’

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With at least 50 dead and more than 200 injured, the shooting late Sunday night in Las Vegas has become the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

The Las Vegas Police Department confirmed the gunman’s identity as 64 year old Stephen Paddock. The sheriff’s office reported there were over 10 rifles found in his hotel room.

Rather than tackling the issue of gun control policies head-on, many lawmakers, including the president himself, have resorted to the “thoughts and prayers” rhetoric that has failed to enact any actual change.

President Donald Trump tweeted out his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims and families this morning.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has co-sponsored three pieces of gun rights legislation and holds an A rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). He tweeted about the “senseless, horrifying act of violence” and sent prayers to the victims.

Other congressional Republicans with favorable NRA ratings have dodged the issue of gun control and have tweeted out similar messages.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) was at the congressional baseball game where Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot in June. He is co-sponsoring legislation that would remove gun silencers from the list of items regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act, making them easier to access. He also sent prayers to the victims.

Democratic party leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as former President Barack Obama have issued their own statements of “thoughts and prayers.”

Congressional Democrats have sent out similar messages, with some making more pointed statements for stricter gun control.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), whose home state of Connecticut was the site of the Sandy Hook school shooting that claimed the lives 27 people, has been an outspoken advocate for stricter gun control legislation.

Murphy released a stronger statement Monday morning, calling offerings of thoughts and prayers from members of Congress “cruelly hollow.”

 

“Thoughts and prayers” has been the go-to response for many Republican lawmakers in the wake of mass shootings. Many of these lawmakers receive generous donations from the NRA and have voted against sensible gun reform laws.

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