Las Vegas shooting spurs legislation to ban bump stocks

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Allen Breed / Associated Press

In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, an employee of North Raleigh Guns demonstrates how a “bump” stock works at the Raleigh, N.C., shop. The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, attached what is called a “bump-stock” to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones.

Published Thu, Oct 5, 2017 (2 a.m.)

Updated Thu, Oct 5, 2017 (5:41 p.m.)

Rep. Dina Titus wants to ban bump stocks, the devices found on a dozen guns in the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter on Sunday.

Minutes after shaking President Donald Trump’s hand at the end of his visit to Las Vegas on Wednesday, the Nevada Democrat announced that she and Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., were pursuing legislation to ban the manufacture, possession, transfer, sale or importation of bump stocks.

“The victims and families in Las Vegas don’t need an explanation about the difference between machine guns and firearms with bump stocks,” Titus said. “They need action.”

Reps. Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen, both D-Nev., came out in support of the bill Wednesday.

“The victims of the heinous attack in Las Vegas deserve more than rhetoric from Congress,” Kihuen said. “They deserve action.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said Thursday that said he’s looked at the House bill, and said it is great in detailing what should be illegal.

“The problem is, is then there’s about five lines right after that in the bill that go through a very broad description, which could mean anything from grips or magazines or whatever,” he said.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is one of the lawmakers who joined a push by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., for similar legislation in the Senate.

“While I understand that all of the facts are still being gathered from the tragic events on Sunday night, it is increasingly clear that this loophole allowed a single person to kill and injure hundreds of innocent people and threaten over 22,000 concertgoers,” she said in a statement Wednesday.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., released a statement through a spokeswoman on Thursday. "As I expressed earlier in the week, the use of the so-called 'bump stop' needs to be explored. Yesterday, I spoke to the president about reevaluating and reviewing the Obama administration ruling that allows the use of the device on a semiautomatic weapon."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing on Thursday that the president's focus has been on healing and uniting the country.

“We know that members of both parties in multiple organizations are planning to take a look at bump stocks and related devices," she said. “We certainly welcome that, would like to be part of that conversation, and we would like to see a clear understanding of the facts. And we'd like to see input from the victims' families, from law enforcement, from policymakers. And we're expecting hearings and other important fact-finding efforts on that. And we want to be part of that discussion, and we're certainly open to that moving forward.”

The National Rifle Association said in a statement after the shooting that it supported a review of policies regarding bump stocks, devices that it pointed out were approved for sale under former President Barack Obama.

“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” said the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox in a joint statement.

The Hill reported Wednesday evening that a Florida Republican congressman was planning to introduce bipartisan legislation seeking the same ban on bump stocks. A spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

"It is sickening that a dangerous device like this is being sold commercially to increase the carnage of gun violence," Rosen said.

Bump stocks are legal to buy in Nevada. They allow a semiautomatic rifle to fire as rapidly as a fully automatic weapon.

“I am introducing this legislation in hopes of closing this dangerous loophole and ensuring that civilians cannot modify their guns to fire nine bullets per second,” Titus said. “This is the least that we can do.”

A group of Democrats from the Nevada Legislature plans to introduce similar bump stock legislation for the 2019 session.

The bill draft requested by Assemblyman Chris Brooks and Sens. Kelvin Atkinson, Yvanna Cancela and Julia Ratti would ban the sale, manufacturing or possession of bump stock devices like the ones used in Sunday’s attack.

“It is clear that action must be taken to build the safest Nevada possible for our families and communities,” the group said in a joint statement.

“We came together as a community to offer our thoughts and prayers, but now it is time for action. This is a common sense approach that will save lives.”

This version of the story adds quotes from Sen. Heller, Rep. Amodei, the NRA and state Democrats.

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