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Democrats quickly call for tighter gun laws after Las Vegas shooting massacre

  • Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal urge the GOP-controlled Congress to take action to prevent similar massacres.
  • Democrat-backed gun control measures like universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines have failed to gain traction.

Some Democrats quickly put a spotlight on gun laws Monday following the deadliest mass shooting in American history.

On Sunday night, a gunman perched high in a Las Vegas hotel opened fire on a music festival. The massacre left at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

Following the shooting, some top Democrats — often proponents of tighter restrictions on guns — urged the Republican-controlled Congress to take action to prevent similar mass shootings.

"This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement. "There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It's time for Congress to get off its a-- and do something."

Murphy represents Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman opened fire at an elementary school there in 2012, killing 27 people, including 20 schoolchildren.

The Newtown killings and other deadly mass shootings have prompted national discussions about gun control, mental health and the possible legislative efforts to prevent future massacres. Changes sought by some Democrats, including universal background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines, have not gained traction in the GOP-controlled Congress in recent years.

As the circumstances of the Las Vegas shooting were still emerging, it was unclear what legislative changes, specifically, could have limited the carnage.

Prominent Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have called previous pushes for stricter gun laws an effort to restrict Second Amendment rights.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was too early to talk about gun policy, something the administration could talk about "in the coming days." She did not say whether Trump would be open to action on gun policy.

Murphy and other Democrats on Monday decried both what they called a lack of action by Congress and an outsize influence on policy by the gun industry and powerful National Rifle Association.

In a tweet, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "we can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again." She criticized an NRA-backed bill that includes a provision making it easier to buy silencers, which the House could move to vote on soon.

Biden tweet: How long do we let gun violence tear families apart? Enough. Congress & the WH should act now to save lives. There's no excuse for inaction.

In a statement, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, also of Connecticut, said Congress "refuses to act" in response to mass shootings. He added: "I am more than frustrated, I am furious."

Shares of gun stocks rose Monday as traders apparently bet on a pickup in arms sales ahead of potentially tighter restrictions following the shooting.