U.S. could limit bump stocks

White House, NRA, Con­gress agree on reg­u­lat­ing de­vice used by Las Ve­gas shooter

Simcoe Reformer - - WORLD NEWS - Erica Werner

WASH­ING­TON — The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounced its sup­port Thurs­day for reg­u­lat­ing “bump stocks,” de­vices that can ef­fec­tively con­vert semi- au­to­matic ri­fles into fully au­to­mated weapons and that were ap­par­ently used in the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre to lethal ef­fect. It was a sur­pris­ing shift for the lead­ing gun in­dus­try group, which in re­cent years has res­o­lutely op­posed any gun reg­u­la­tions. Im­me­di­ately af­ter­ward the White House, too, said it was open to such a change.

The NRA an­nounce­ment fol­lowed com­ments from lead­ing con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans in­clud­ing House Speaker Paul Ryan that Con­gress should take a look at the de­vices, which were lit­tle-known even to gun en­thu­si­asts prior to Sun­day’s blood­bath. A gun­man pumped bul­lets from a casino high-rise into a crowd of con­cert­go­ers be­low, killing 59 and wound­ing hundreds, ap­par­ently us­ing le­gal “bump stocks” to in­crease fir­ing speed from his semi-au­to­matic weapons.

“The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion is call­ing on the Bureau of Al­co­hol, Tobacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives (BAT FE) 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.”

White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said in re­sponse, “We wel­come that and a con­ver­sa­tion on that. ... It’s some­thing we’re very open to. It’s some­thing we want to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion on go­ing for­ward.”

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had dis­cussed the is­sue with law­mak­ers on the way back from vis­it­ing Las Ve­gas on Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Ne­vada, who trav­elled with the pres­i­dent aboard Air Force One.

“Bump stocks” orig­i­nally were in­tended to help peo­ple with lim­ited hand mo­bil­ity fire a semi­au­to­matic with­out the in­di­vid­ual trig­ger pulls re­quired. They can fit over the rear shoul­der-stock assem­bly on a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle and with ap­plied pres­sure cause the weapon to fire con­tin­u­ously, in­creas­ing the rate from be­tween 45 and 60 rounds per minute to be­tween 400 and 800 rounds per minute, ac­cord­ing to the of­fice of Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, D-Calif., who in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion this week to ban them.

The gov­ern­ment gave its seal of ap­proval to sell­ing the de­vices in 2010 af­ter con­clud­ing that they did not vi­o­late fed­eral law.

The en­dorse­ment from the NRA and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans for a change in law or pol­icy to reg­u­late guns, how­ever nar­row, marked a shift. In­ac­tion has been the norm fol­low­ing other mass shoot­ings, in­clud­ing the Sandy Hook, Conn., mas­sacre of school­child­ren five years ago, last year’s blood­bath at the Pulse night­club in Florida, and a base­ball field shoot­ing this year in which House Ma­jor­ity Whip Steve Scalise came close to death.

Ge­orge Frey/ Gett y Im­ages

A bump stock de­vice (left) that fits on a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle to in­crease the fir­ing speed, mak­ing it sim­i­lar to a fully au­to­matic ri­fle, is in­stalled on a AK-47 semi-au­to­matic ri­fle, (right) at a gun store in Salt Lake City, Utah. The U.S. Con­gress is talk­ing about ban­ning this de­vice af­ter it was re­ported to of been used in the Las Ve­gas shoot­ings on Oct. 1.

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