Ryan: Fed­eral rules way to ad­dress bump stocks

The Mercury News - - News - By Alan Fram

New fed­eral rules would be “the smartest, quick­est” way to reg­u­late the de­vice the gun­man in the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre used to heighten his fire­power, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wed­nes­day, sug­gest­ing that Con­gress was un­likely to act first.

It is un­clear what if any ac­tion the fed­eral Bu­reau of Al­co­hol, Tobacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives will take on so-called bump stocks. The agency has said that once it is­sues a rul­ing on a weapon or equip­ment, it re­vises its stance only if gun laws or the equip­ment it­self have changed.

The bu­reau de­cided in 2010 that bump stocks did not vi­o­late fed­eral law, and gun statutes and the de­sign of the mech­a­nism have been un­changed since then. Ryan, R-Wis., said law­mak­ers are try­ing to fig­ure out why the bu­reau has al­lowed the sale of bump stocks.

“This is a reg­u­la­tion that prob­a­bly shouldn’t have hap­pened in the first place,” Ryan said. “We think the reg­u­la­tory fix is the smartest, quick­est fix,” he said.

ATF spokes­woman Mary Markos de­clined to say if the White House or Jus­tice Depart­ment could or will com­pel the agency to reeval­u­ate its 2010 de­ci­sion.

Bump stocks can be at­tached to a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle to fire con­tin­u­ously, dis­charg­ing 400 to 800 rounds a minute. That can trans­form guns into fully au­to­matic weapons, which are strictly reg­u­lated.

The de­vices were found in Stephen Pad­dock’s arse­nal af­ter he fired from a high-rise ho­tel onto a mu­sic fes­ti­val, leav­ing 58 dead and hun­dreds wounded.

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