House Responds to Vegas Shooting With Bill to Ban Bump Stocks

Guns on display at a gun store in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

WASHINGTON (CN) – In the wake of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history last week in Las Vegas, bipartisan legislation was announced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to ban bump stocks and similar devices that increase the rate of fire when placed onto a semiautomatic rifle.

The proposed bill Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., will amend federal law but go a step further and “prohibit the manufacture, possession or transfer of any part or combination of parts” that “increase the rate of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert a rifle into a machinegun or other purposes.”

The bump stock attachments essentially make a semiautomatic rifle fully automatic, allowing the user to unload magazines of ammunition in rapid speed.

Moulton said in a statement Tuesday that while “more could be done,” the bill is a “crucial starting point” to address gun safety.

Eighteen bipartisan co-sponsors offered their support for the bill.

Fifty-eight people were killed and nearly 500 were injured on Oct. 1, when Stephen Paddock opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas on a crowd at a country music festival. Paddock killed himself before police officers reached him.

Though the investigation is pending, law enforcement officials have confirmed Paddock possessed 12 rifles retrofitted with bump stocks.

“This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights,” Curbelo said Tuesday, referencing a decades-old ban on automatic rifles.

The Curbelo-Moulton legislation has already met some criticism from Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat from Nevada. Just last week, she reintroduced her bump stock ban legislation via the Automatic Gunfire Prevent Act.

In a statement Tuesday, Titus said the two bills are near “mirrors” of each another but that her fellow Democrat’s stance wasn’t strong enough for “criminal violators” of current gun laws, she said.

“There is no reason to undermine our position at this point to satisfy the NRA,” Titus added.

Before the massacre in Las Vegas this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., acknowledged he “didn’t know what a bump stock was” but indicated regulation on their sales could be headed for the legislative agenda in the near future.

Before Curbelo’s bill debuted Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it’s way too early to be discussing a bump stock ban.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this,” McConnell said this past week. “The investigation has not even been completed. And I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”

A representative from the National Rifle Association did not immediately return a request for comment. But in the days after the Las Vegas massacre, the group broke with its long tradition of denouncing talk of gun control after a mass shooting by saying lawmakers may need to take a look at regulating bump stocks.

The NRA has since said it will challenge any effort to ban the devices.

 

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