Biss, NRA release statements on Las Vegas shooting


Daily file photo by Maytham Alzayer

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) speaks at an event in January. On Thursday, Biss released a statement urging citizens to support a bill on gun dealer licensing he plans to introduce in the Illinois State Senate.

Sophie Mann, Reporter

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) released a statement Thursday encouraging citizens to support a bill on gun dealer licensing he plans to introduce in the Illinois State Senate.

Biss said the bill would work to prevent people who do not possess a license issued by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from purchasing firearms.

The senator’s statement comes four days after Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd from his Mandalay Bay hotel room in Las Vegas, killing nearly 60 and wounding hundreds more. On Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Paddock had also booked a room overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.

“What happened in Las Vegas could have happened anywhere,” Biss said. “And regardless of what’s in the headlines, we must always talk about the gun violence that takes a staggering toll in cities like Chicago every day.”

Twelve of the rifles used by Paddock were reported to have been equipped with bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds per minute.

The NRA released a statement Thursday calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” a notable shift for an organization that normally opposes stricter gun laws.

But Biss said the gun lobby is still standing in the way of keeping Americans safe by maintaining that the solution to ending mass shootings is to increase access to guns.

“Arguing for easier access to these items is like saying the best solution to a bully on the playground is granting every kid the permission to become a bully,” he said. “It shouldn’t take another Sandy Hook, Columbine, Orlando, or Las Vegas to call this problem what it is: a public health crisis.”

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