Las Vegas Sun

November 18, 2017

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‘Public sentiment is everything’: Pelosi quotes Lincoln when asked about gun control

The shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 1 spurred a focus on gun control legislation in Congress, at least among Democrats.

Proposals to ban bump stocks ― believed to have been used in the shooting to fire more rounds more quickly ― limit high-capacity magazines, and fund research have been introduced. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., whose district includes the Newtown school where a shooter killed 26 people, is sponsoring the bill to ban high-capacity magazines.

Though some Republicans have signaled support for a ban on bump stocks, with one bipartisan bill introduced so far, gun control legislation has failed to gain traction in the past. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that there is support among lawmakers for change, but Republican leaders will not bring up a bill for a vote.

“President Lincoln said, ‘Public sentiment is everything,’” Pelosi said during a visit Tuesday at University Medical Center, where more than 100 people were taken after the Oct. 1 shooting. “The public has to demand it because the gun industry, the gun lobby, the NRA, has such a stranglehold over Congress. Unless the public demands it, we won’t be able to pass anything.”

Pelosi sat down with hospital officials to discuss their response to the shooting and what’s next for health care.

Elizabeth Bolhouse, a UMC nurse and SEIU chief steward for nursing, told Pelosi that part of UMC’s designation as a Level 1 trauma center for the state means the hospital has a responsibility to educate the community. She was part of one such training program called “Stop the Bleed” about six weeks before the shooting.

“We go out into the community and we teach small city groups how to apply a tourniquet,” she said. “When I first did the training, I thought, why are we doing this? And then it clicked. Our culture’s changing. Mass casualties are now something Americans face on the home front.”