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House passes major gun bill as senators debate bump-stock regulation

The gun debate took center stage on Capitol Hill Wednesday, as the House passed its first major piece of gun legislation since two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. While the bill tightens the national background check system, it also includes a provision requiring states to recognize concealed carry permits across state lines -- a top priority for the NRA. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Next week marks five years since the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, left 26 people dead, most of them children, along with the shooter himself.

    In the wake of this and other mass shootings, federal lawmakers have been criticized for not moving on gun legislation. But, today, the gun debate took center stage in both the U.S. House and Senate.

    Hari Sreenivasan reports.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    The tension was palpable on the House floor.

  • Rep. David Price:

    Make no mistake. This bill would make it easier to cross state lines with hidden loaded weapons.

  • Rep. Steve King:

    I want to protect American people and I want to protect constitutional rights.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    As the House passed its first major piece of gun legislation since two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. The bill showcased a rare moment of bipartisanship on guns, with a measure to tighten the national background check system.

    But it also included a provision requiring states to recognize concealed carry permits across state lines, just as they would a driver’s license. That’s a top priority for the NRA, and that left House Democrats reeling.

  • Rep. Seth Moulton:

    Republican leadership is pushing a bill with blood money from the NRA that will create a race to the bottom, where states with the weakest concealed carry requirements will rewrite the laws for everyone else.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate. But, today, the gun debate raged there, too, at a Judiciary Committee hearing.

    Lawmakers discussed bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire faster, like the ones used in the Las Vegas concert massacre in October.

    Heather Gooze was bartending when those shots rang out, leaving 58 people dead.

  • Heather Gooze:

    I am not someone who is anti-gun. I am very pro-Second Amendment. But I support Senator Feinstein’s bill to ban bump fire stocks. These devices are not for hunting. They are not for target practice. They are for hurting people.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    It fed the debate about which federal agency should regulate those devices. Yesterday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it’ll determine if bump stocks fall within its jurisdiction.

    Senators also touched on the national background check system, and the holes that allowed Air Force veteran Devin Kelley to buy the guns he used to kill 26 people in a Texas church last month.

    Yesterday, a Department of Defense report found that while attention has been on the Air Force’s failure to report criminal history to the background check database, other branches of the military fared even worse.

    Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson acknowledged those lapses.

  • Sen. John Cornyn:

    I think we need to have some means of enforcing this, as you said, accountability and discipline. What would you suggest?

  • Heather Wilson:

    Senator, one of the things that we have put in place is checks at different levels of command, so that it’s more likely that if there is a failure to file a fingerprint card, that the next level of command will be able to see it.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Hari Sreenivasan.

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