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Reid: Congress has a 'duty' to pass gun control legislation

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) pauses as he speaks during a news conference June 5, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Democrats held the news conference to discussion college affordability. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Sunday shooting in Las Vegas that left five people dead, including the two shooters, is the latest example of why Congress needs to pass new gun control legislation.

"We in Congress have a duty to put in place legislation that helps prevent these deranged, these weird, these evil people who carry out such savage acts of violence," Reid said on the Senate floor. "A step in the right direction would be universal background checks, so that people who are criminals, who are deranged, can't buy a gun."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the Las Vegas shooting is just the latest reason why Congress needs to approve new gun control legislation. Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Sunday, a couple killed two police officers who were having lunch at a pizza place in Las Vegas, then killed a woman in a Walmart before the woman killed her accomplice, and then herself.

That shooting happened just days after Elliot Rodger shot three people, stabbed three others, and killed himself. Those events prompted California Democrats to propose a bill allowing people to seek temporary restrictions on gun ownership through the courts, if they feel someone represents a threat.

The California shooting is prompting talk about finding ways to limit gun ownership for mentally ill people, but Democrats and Republicans have different ways of getting to that result. While Democrats have pushed for improved background checks, many Republicans — backed by the NRA — are pushing for funding to institutionalize these people to ensure they don't have free access to guns.

Reid said Monday that Democrats are not looking to block gun ownership overall, but are simply trying to impose limits for people who may pose a danger.

"The American people are depending on us to pass legislation to prevent gun violence, safeguard communities, schools and families," he said. "And there is not a single senator that I know of that says… let's make sure people don't have guns. We're not saying that, listen to what we're saying."

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