National Rifle Association official Chris Cox on Sunday defended the influential group’s call last week to look into whether a gun device used in the Las Vegas shooting massacre complies with federal law -- arguing the move was not a call for a weapons ban and that gun-rights advocates welcome the effort.
“There were NRA members who were shot [in Las Vegas]. There were members who were murdered,” Cox, the NRA's executive director, told “Fox News Sunday.” “What we’re getting from NRA members is grief and fear, the same way other Americans are grieving.”
Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 others were wounded in the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre, executed by a gunman with a cache of weapons and a device that converts a semi-automatic rifle into a full-automatic one.
The NRA statement last week in part called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
The statement also called the mass shooting by Stephen Paddock “evil” and made clear, as the NRA has long argued, that “banning guns from law-abiding Americans, based on the criminal act of a madman, will do nothing to prevent future attacks.”
Cox on Sunday reiterated those points, saying, “What we saw last week was pure evil. … We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything.”
He also said the ATF needs to “do its job” and that devices like the so-called “bump stock” that Paddock used should be “regulated differently” if they indeed convert semi-automatics into fully-automatics.
Cox also argued the country needs to look at the “broader picture," including the connection between mental illness and the perpetrators of mass killings, including those without the use of guns.
Republicans and other politicians in conservative parts of the country have largely voted in line with the influential lobby group’s positions on Second Amendment rights. However, Democrats largely support tougher gun laws.
Cox on Sunday argued Democrats including Hillary Clinton and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and liberal Hollywood try to politicize mass shootings as a way to limit gun ownership in the United States.
“The talking points might change for Dianne Feinstein, but the underlying agenda never does,” he told Fox News.
“Hillary Clinton ran as the most pro-gun control candidate in American history and she lost. She gets an award for hypocrisy because she will never spend a moment, a breath, without armed security surrounding her the rest of her life. … But her life is no more valuable than the single mom living in Chicago working the late shift who wants to own a gun and carry it to defend herself.”