Newly Empowered House Democrats Vow to Act After Latest Mass Shooting

But Republican control in the Senate makes any legislation unlikely

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., speaks during the news conference at the Capitol on in November 2017 to call on House Judiciary chairman Bob Goodlatte to hold a hearing and examine the use and legality of “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in her district in Las Vegas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A mass shooting in California has again reignited the debate over guns in America and Congress.

A gunman opened fire at a bar hosting a “college night” in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday night, killing 12 people and injuring many more, according media reports. Among the dead was a sheriff’s sergeant who charged into the bar to confront the shooter.

With a new majority in the House, Democrats say they’re emboldened to make changes once they take control in January.

Here’s how Democrats reacted to the shooting and said what they’ll do in the new Congress:

Florida Rep. Ted Deutch previewed legislation to create a “National Gun Safety Administration.” Deutch’s district includes the Parkland school where 17 children and adults were shot and killed nine months ago.

Nevada Rep. Dina Titus has gotten little traction on her proposals to reform gun laws, but vowed, “that will change come January.” Titus represents a district that encompasses most of Las Vegas, which saw the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when a gunman used bump stocks to kill 58 concertgoers from a hotel window last year.

“I worry that we’ve become desensitized to this,” Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes told CNN. Himes called for Congress to take up some of the measures that have been implemented in Connecticut like an assault weapons ban, but acknowledged the divided Congress makes the likelihood of any legislation becoming law much more remote.

Rep. Julia Brownley, who represents the California district that includes Thousand Oaks, told the families of the victims who were shot and killed Wednesday night, “our community is here for you.”

Some Republicans extended their condolences to the victims’ families, but did not join Democrats in suggesting policy solutions. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that the shooting will “strengthen our resolve to heal the wounds in our society and move forward.”

Another Republican in the California delegation, Rep. Ed Royce, praised law enforcement on the scene in his first statement about the tragedy.

On the Senate side, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said tragedies like the one in Thousand Oaks are “depressingly pervasive” and called on her Republican colleagues to vote on bills to ban military-style assault weapons, outlaw bump stocks and close the gun show loophole. She blamed the inertia on the issue to a lack of “intestinal fortitude” among Congressional Republicans.


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.