NRA, White House open to regulation of ‘bump stocks’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association says the “bump stocks” device that the Las Vegas shooter used to turn semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons should be “subject to additional regulations.”

In a statement on Thursday, the NRA says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.

The organization which holds a powerful sway over members of Congress dismissed some of the initial response from lawmakers who have pressed for more gun control.

“Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks,” NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox said in a statement.

The White House says President Donald Trump welcomes a review of U.S. policy on so-called bump stock devices that legally make semi-automatic rifles into faster-firing automatic weapons.

Gabby Giffords, John Lewis, Mike Thompson
Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., speaking, joined by, from left, former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., call for action on gun safety legislation at the Capitol on Oct. 4. AP Photo: J. Scott Applewhite

Bump stocks are legal and originally were intended to help people with limited hand mobility fire a semi-automatic without the individual trigger pulls required.

Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday that “we’re certainly open to having that conversation.”

Her remarks are part of a growing bipartisan chorus of calls to take a step in the direction of regulating guns in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. The killer in Las Vegas apparently used the legal bump stock devices on legal rifles, essentially converting them into automatic weapons, which are banned. That allowed him to spray gunfire into the crowd below much more quickly. At least 59 people died and hundreds were injured when he opened fire on an outdoor country music festival.

The top Republican in the House also said he’s open to considering a possible ban on bump stock devices. Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview with MSNBC that aired Thursday it’s “clearly something we need to look into.”

The comments from lawmakers including No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas mark a surprising departure from the GOP’s general antipathy to gun regulations of any kind.