On Wednesday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) released a statement which lined up in agreement with Democrats, and most Republicans, on the need to examine “bump stocks” in relation to whether the devices are in violation of federal law. The “bump stock” is an accessory which allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire as if it was a fully automatic rifle. The item was approved for sale under the Obama administration since 2010, and is largely seen as a gimmick or a toy for wasting a lot of ammo while target shooting. However, this “toy” became all too real when gunman Stephen Paddock allegedly used the device to unload hundreds, perhaps thousands of rounds, in a 9 minute span from a Las Vegas hotel room last Sunday, killing 59 people.
The report on this development from CNN:
The National Rifle Association announced Thursday that it supports a review of bump fire stocks to see if they are in accordance with federal law.
The group’s support comes following the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas earlier in the week and amid calls to ban the devices, which allow semi-automatic weapons to simulate automatic weapon fire.
The NRA is typically the nation’s most prominent lobbyist group against stricter gun regulations.
“The National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” the NRA said in a statement. “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
The debate on banning bump stocks is taking place on Capitol Hill. Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo is planning to introduce legislation Thursday to ban the sale of them.
“I think we are on the verge of a breakthrough when it comes to sensible gun policy,” Curbelo told reporters Thursday.
Curbelo said his office has been “flooded” with calls from fellow lawmakers inquiring about the bill.
The White House is open to legislation to ban bump stocks, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday, and added that the administration wants to be part of the conversation in the days to come.
“We’re certainly open to that moving forward,” Sanders said.
Here is an excellent report from CBS News which explains what a bump stock is and exactly how it works to allow a semi-automatic rifle to simulate the rapid fire of a fully-automatic:
Some major retailers, such as Cabela’s and Walmart, have already begun pulling the item off the shelf, according to reports.
The NRA also added to their statement that while they support examining the bump stock as a possible violation of current federal law, they’d also like to see lawmakers come together and agree on a framework for national concealed carry reciprocity between states. That change, while supported by the President and Republican lawmakers, will likely not fly when it comes to getting Democratic votes, especially in the Senate.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her proposal to increase background checks and call on House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a select committee to find common ground on gun violence at a CNN town hall Wednesday.
Pelosi also noted that there could be bipartisan support around the banning of sales on bump stocks.
“I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those because you can buy them now,” Pelosi said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Ryan also signaled he would be open to examining the legality of bump fire stocks, telling Hugh Hewitt in an interview that “clearly that’s something we need to look into.”
As indicated by Pelosi, Democrats would like to see more gun control laws passed beyond banning the bump stock accessory, but that is unlikely to happen given opposition from Republicans. It may be the circumstance, that we rarely see, when both parties agree on something, and it’s very likely that bump stocks get pulled from the shelves if lawmakers can agree on getting rid of them.