Democrats, Republicans, and now — believe it or not — even the National Rifle Association is calling for bump stocks to be more heavily regulated in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting that left 59 dead and about 500 injured.
The NRA released a statement Thursday afternoon calling the attack “evil and senseless,” and the kind of shooting that Americans were trying to figure out how to prevent. While the statement scolded politicians who used the massacre as a platform to talk about stronger gun control laws, it also said the group “believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” The move marks an extremely rare concession for the staunch gun-rights organization, known to never give an inch on gun rights.
Bump stocks are a small attachment that can enable a semi-automatic rifle, which is legal to purchase, to fire like an automatic weapon. They allowed Stephen Paddock, the man who sprayed bullets across thousands of concertgoers from the window of his room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, to fire as many as nine rounds per second, according to CBS News. Some firing ranges, including the one at NRA headquarters in Virginia, don’t allow bump stocks because they reduce accuracy and safety, Politico reported.
On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced a bill to ban the sale and possession of bump stocks and any device “designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle,” according to the bill. Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts also planned to introduce a bill banning bump stocks by the end of the day Thursday.
Though typically opposed to any measures infringing on gun laws, several Republicans are now open to restrictions on bump stocks. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Tuesday, “I’m not an expert on bump stocks, [but] all things that make America safer and don’t infringe on the Second Amendment, count me in.” Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas tweeted, “As the details of the shooting in Las Vegas have become clearer, it’s evident that action must be taken with regard to bump stocks.”