The bipartisan call to ban or better regulate “bump stocks” after the Las Vegas gunman appeared to use them to boost his arsenal’s lethality is facing some resistance from gun-rights advocates, even as the National Rifle Association opens the door to new rules.
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Gun Owners of America, a nonprofit lobbying group, announced its opposition Thursday to any such restrictions.
"Gun Owners of America opposes a ban on bump stocks,” Executive Director Erich Pratt said in a statement, noting that the Obama administration’s ATF allowed the devices “to help gun owners with disabilities fire their weapons.”
Pratt added, “Any type of ban will be ignored by criminals and only serve to disarm honest citizens.” He said it’s “sad to see some Republicans quickly call for a vote on gun control.”
“Bump stocks” can be used to effectively convert semi-automatic rifles to fire so rapidly as to simulate an automatic weapon. The devices were found on guns used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 and injured hundreds Sunday night.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have quickly moved to consider new rules and a possible ban on the devices, in a rare point of concurrence for Republicans and Democrats in the gun control debate.
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In a major development, the NRA called Thursday for a federal review of “bump stocks” and suggested new rules might be needed, in its first statement on the Las Vegas shooting.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” the NRA said.
“In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved,” the NRA said. “Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.”
But GOA, which on its website features a quote from ex-GOP Rep. Ron Paul calling the group the only “no compromise” gun lobby, tweeted, “No law -- including a 'bump stock' ban -- would've stopped the Las Vegas shooting.”
While some congressional Republicans are on board with a “bump stock” review, others are not.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., called the issue a distraction.
“Proposed 'bump fire stock' ban is a red herring that would lead to ban of other firearms and accessories,” he tweeted.