Photographer: George Frey/Getty Images

NRA Official Opposes Ban on ‘Bump Stocks’ Used in Vegas Massacre

  • Democratic senators Feinstein, Murphy say new law is needed
  • Bump devices give rapid fire similar to fully automatic rifles

A top National Rifle Association official said a ban on the “bump stocks” used by the Las Vegas shooter to achieve rapid firing isn’t the answer to mass gun violence, while two Democratic senators contended increased regulation of the devices isn’t enough.

“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything,” NRA Executive Director Chris Cox said during a “Fox News Sunday” interview. “What we’ve said has been very clear -- that if something transfers a semi-automatic [weapon] to function like fully automatic, it ought to be regulated differently” by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Cox’s comments come a week after Nevada resident Stephen Paddock killed 58 people attending a country music concert in Las Vegas and wounded about 500 others. Paddock killed himself as officers approached his hotel room, where he had an arsenal of some 23 weapons. A dozen of them included bump fire stocks, attachments that can effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who’s revived her proposal to ban bump stocks, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the NRA’s willingness to support regulating the devices was “a step forward” but not enough.

“Regulations aren’t going to do it. We need a law. It can’t be changed by another president,” she said, noting that President Donald Trump is changing regulations put in place by former President Barack Obama.

Bump fire stocks are legal under an ATF conclusion reached during the Obama administration. Selling and manufacturing automatic weapons has been illegal since 1986, and weapons purchased before then are regulated by the federal government.

‘Up to Congress’

“With a statute that is unclear, it’s up to Congress to change it,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have to have a bill before the House and the Senate that makes it completely clear that if you own an automatic weapon -- if you’ve converted a semiautomatic weapon to an automatic weapon -- then that is illegal.”

Murphy said he’s willing to work with Republicans on a narrow measure on bump stocks, although he said universal background checks should be the next step on gun control.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and second-ranking Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas have said they are open to considering whether Congress should limit Americans’ ability to turn a semiautomatic weapon into essentially a fully automatic firearm.

Cox said Sunday, “our concern is that all this focus on devices takes away the attention from the underlying behavior.” California bans high-capacity ammunition magazines, but it hasn’t prevented mass shootings in that state, he said.

States’ Rights

The NRA’s statement last week, while opening the door to new regulation on bump stock devices, also pushed its proposal to require states to recognize right-to-carry permits issued by all other states.

“The state I represent would not want any part of that, nor should any American,”Feinstein said. “You just make the situation worse.”

Feinstein acknowledged that a broader background-check requirement wouldn’t have stopped Paddock from acquiring his gun arsenal. “No, he passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions,” she said.

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