Last week, in the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, the National Rifle Association—the powerful lobby known for fighting all forms of gun control—stunned many when it announced its support for regulation of bump stocks, devices that make weapons fire more rapidly.
A bipartisan bill banning the accessories was introduced in Congress yesterday. Does that mean we’ll have a law in the books anytime soon?
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan who advocates for “common sense” gun control, doesn’t think so. “It’s very hard to get anything through,” she said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning. “We probably won’t even get the bump legislation even though the NRA says we should. People have a way with the legislative process of adding other things to the bump stock legislation, which will make it toxic and will get it killed in the senate.”
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Dingell calls America’s gun issue “complicated.” She grew up in a home where her father, was sometimes abusive and threatened the family’s safety with his guns; she married John Dingell, an avid hunter who for a long time, served in Congress and on the board of the NRA. She has her own bipartisan bill, which she calls “simple.” It would prohibit individuals convicted of stalking with a gun from carrying a firearm.
Dingell is not optimistic though, pointing out that it’s almost impossible to have a discussion about gun control that would effectively prevent terrorists from buying weapons. The effort to prohibit individuals on the “No fly” list from purchasing guns has been stymied, in part, by the messiness of that list and its “constitutional problems,” she explained. “We make everything so complicated, we can’t do anything simple,” says Dingell. “We can’t even get to the table.”
Her fellow panelist Carolyn Everson, an executive at Facebook (fb), shared her own personal efforts, as a woman and a mother, to push for “sensible gun laws.” With a group of like-minded men and women, she’s advocating for responsible gun ownership and management, and has started a petition for gun safety.