Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein is back in the na­tional spot­light as Congress gears up for a fight over gun con­trol.

Gun lobby hints it may sup­port pro­posed ban on bump stocks

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Casey Tolan ctolan@ba­yare­anews­group.com

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein’s lat­est gun con­trol ef­fort gained trac­tion on Thurs­day, as some Repub­li­can lead­ers — and even the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion — sug­gested it might be open to her pro­posal to ban a de­vice used by the gun­man in this week’s Las Ve­gas shoot­ing.

Repub­li­can lead­ers voiced muted sup­port Wed­nes­day for Fe­in­stein’s ef­fort to ban bump stocks— a de­vice used by the gun­man to dras­ti­cally in­crease his rate of fire as he killed 58 peo­ple Sun­day night.

In a highly un­usual­move, lead­ers of the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion — the most pow­er­ful gun group in the coun­try — said in a state­ment that they be­lieve “de­vices de­signed to al­lowsemi-auto- matic ri­fles to func­tion like fullyau­to­matic ri­fles should be sub­ject to ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tions.” The NRA usu­ally op­poses nearly all gun con­trol mea­sures.

A bump stock, which can be bought on­line for a few hun­dred dol­lars, is used to­mod­ify semi­au­to­matic guns into firearms that can shoot hundreds of rounds a minute — es­sen­tially trans­form­ing le­gal weapons into some­thing like a ma­chine gun. The de­vice re­places a gun’s shoul­der stock,

har­ness­ing the re­coil­move­ment of a gun to con­tinue fir­ing.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say Stephen Pad­dock, the Las Ve­gas gun­man, had at­tached 12 bump stocks to guns in his ho­tel room, which helped him carry out the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­tory.

Bump stocks are al- ready il­le­gal un­der Cal­i­for­nia state law, a spokes­woman for At­tor­ney Gen­eral Xavier Be­cerra said.

In the wake of the car­nage, Fe­in­stein, one of the se­nate’s lead­ing gun­con­trol ad­vo­cates, in­tro­duced a bill to ban bump stocks. “There is no bet­ter way than to honor the 58 peo­ple who were slaugh­tered than to take ac­tion to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing yet again,” she said at a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day. “If not, when will we ever do it?”

“There is no bet­ter­way than to honor the 58 peo­ple who were slaugh­tered than to take ac­tion to pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing yet again. If not, when will we ever do it?” — Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein

Fe­in­stein’s bill has 29 co- spon­sors, all Democrats or in­de­pen­dents who cau­cus with Democrats. But Repub­li­can lead­ers also sig­naled this week that com­pro­mise was a pos­si­bil­ity.

“It seems like it’s an ob­vi­ous area we ought to ex­plore and see if it’s some­thing Congress needs to act on,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, one of the top Repub­li­cans in the Se­nate, told the New York Times. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on a ra­dio show Thurs­day morn­ing that bump stocks were “clearly… some­thing that we need to look into.” He said he had never heard of the de­vice be­fore this week.

Ac­tivists see a bump stock ban as the most promis­ing av­enue for suc­cess­ful gun con­trol ac­tion in Congress in years.

“It’s hard to see a good rea­son for these to be in civil­ian hands — I don’t know how that can be jus­ti­fied,” said Amanda Wilkins, Cal­i­for­nia leg­isla­tive chair of the Brady Cam­paign to Pre­vent Gun Vi­o­lence. “Congress is go­ing to be hard-pressed to op­pose that leg­is­la­tion.”

Sam Pare­des, the ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Gun Own­ers of Cal­i­for­nia, said his group dis­agreed with the NRA and would op­pose any re­stric­tions on bump stocks. “Fo­cus­ing on the de­vices in­stead of the crim­i­nal and what he did is the wrong way to go,” he said.

MANUEL BALCE CENETA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein speaks dur­ing a con­fer­ence about gun leg­is­la­tion on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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