The powerful National Rifle Association is calling for new regulations of ‘bump stock’ devices that allow gun-owners to convert semi-automatic arms into a rapid-fire arms akin to an automatic.
The group issued its first statement since the Las Vegas massacre on Thursday – a potential game-changer after Democrats and a a series of Republican lawmakers have proposed taking action on the issue.
The powerful lobby has been successful in spiking gun control efforts after previous mass-shootings, helping to end an assault weapons ban, fight off efforts to close a gun show loophole, and killing limits on ammunition cartridges.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,’ NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and the group’s top lobbyist Chris Cox said in a joint statement.
President Donald Trump is greated by Wayne LaPierre (R), executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, and NRA chief lobbiest Chris Cox (L) during the NRA-ILA’s Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention is the largest annual gathering for the NRA’s more than 5 million members.
‘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,” they wrote, referencing a 2010 regulatory ruling.
The statement’s reference to administrative regulation comes amid increasing calls for legislative action that could accomplish the same result, but on a permanent basis with the force of law.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has already introduced legislation, having included bump stock provisions in earlier gun control measure that went down. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman is planning to hold hearings on various issues in response to the shooting, after Senate whip John Cornyn requested it. House Speaker Paul Ryan also expressed openness to the idea.
‘In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities,’ the two officials concluded.
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 1: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (L) sits beside Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Wayne LaPierre (R), during a meeting on Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images)
But they drew the line at further gun control – as the organization did during a call for new legislation following the slaughter of children in Newtown, Connecticut by a gunman using an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.
‘Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks,’ LaPierre and Cox said.
President Donald Trump (L) sits beside Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Wayne LaPierre (R), during a meeting on Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images)
The devices, known as ‘bump stocks’ among other names, are legal and originally were intended to help people with limited hand mobility fire a semi-automatic without the individual trigger pulls required
The statement got released moments before the start of a White House press briefing, where spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed an openness to the idea – even as she repeated statements that the nation was in ‘mourning’ and that it wasn’t the right time for policy debates.
“We’re certainly open to that moving forward, but we want to be part of that conversation,’ Sanders said, when asked about the new movement on the bump stock issue.
“We would like to see a clear understanding of the facts,” she said.
Statement from the NRA
In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented.
Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world.
In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. 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.
The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities.
To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
‘Right now our focus … has been on healing and uniting the country,’ Sanders said, pressed for more specific details on what regulations the White House would or would not countenance. She noted that Trump is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
Thursday morning, counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway suggested the White House is at least open to a conversation about banning bump stocks, the devices that turned Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s semiautomatic rifles into machine guns.
Earlier Thursday, counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway suggested the White House is at least open to a conversation about banning bump stocks, the devices that turned Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s semiautomatic rifles into machine guns.
Though, always quick to blame a Democrat, Conway reminded TV audiences Thursday that it was President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that decided in 2010 not to regulate the product, with one official calling it a ‘goofy little doodad.’ The NRA’s statement also prominently mentioned the Obama ATF’s decision.
Conway then pointed to Republicans in Congress flirting with Democrats on a bump stock ban, with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., both saying Thursday that they will consider regulating the device.
‘Many of them are open to a conversation, we always welcome thoughtful conversations,’ Conway said on Fox & Friends, indicating the White House could give such a ban a blessing, a highly unusual step for a Republican administration.
‘I would just note for the viewers, that since bump stock has not been in the lexicon before, this is a device that President Obama’s ATF decided would not be regulated in 2010 and I think that’s an important part of this conversation,’ Conway said.
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Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said Thursday that the White House, like Hill Republicans, ‘welcome thoughtful conversations’ on gun control matters
When Kellyanne Conway (right) tried to point out that it was the Obama administration that allowed bump stocks not to be regulated CNN’s Chris Cuomo (left) wasn’t having it
Conway went on to knock Hillary Clinton, who brought up gun control almost immediately after the Las Vegas assault, as well as bash other top Democrats.
The counselor to the president used the same talking points when appearing on CNN with New Day host Chris Cuomo.
This time around, it didn’t go as smoothly.
‘Kellyanne, I am tired, so I apologize in advance, but I have to tell you, a lot of this doesn’t wash,’ Cuomo said, after Conway brought up the Obama connection and then knocked Clinton and Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who have both called for stricter gun control.
Cuomo argued that, ‘All you need to know about bump stock is that it was legal And that’s what allowed him to lay down that field of fire. That’s all you need to know about it.’
‘There’s no thoughtful conversation to have about it. Of course it was 2010. Of course it was the Obama administration,’ he added, pointing out that bump stocks are a relatively new technology. ‘I’m saying don’t cheapen what happened in Las Vegas.’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (pictured) promised victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting that she would not rest until Congress acted on gun control during a town hall meeting on Wednesday
‘I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those because you can buy them now,’ Pelosi said
On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she believed there may be momentum to pass legislation to ban bump fire stocks as Republicans reveal they are open to banning the devices that the Las Vegas gunman used to make his weapons deadlier.
‘I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those because you can buy them now,’ Pelosi said during a town hall on CNN.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced legislation that would ban the sale and possession of bump stocks.
‘In just nine minutes an individual was able to turn a concert venue into a battlefield,’ Feinstein told reporters at a Capitol Hill press conference, flanked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., whose home state was rattled in 2012 by the Sandy Hook mass shooting, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Overall, Feinstein got 29 of her fellow Democrats to sign on in just a few hours.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced legislation alongside her Democratic colleagues on Wednesday to ban the sale and possession of bump stocks, of which the Las Vegas killer had 12 such devices, she said
Zero Republicans joined in the effort, though several GOP senators indicated Wednesday that the measure isn’t dead upon arrival, like most gun control proposals.
The Senate’s third-ranking Republican, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said bump stocks are ‘something I think we’ll look at,’ while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C, suggested it was a ‘good time’ to hold a hearing on the matter.
‘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,’ Graham said, according to CBS News.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., made an even more definitive statement.
‘Automatic weapons are illegal. To me, that is part of that same type of process. So I have no problem banning those,’ Johnson said.
Rep. Bill Flores, a popular Texas conservative serving in his fourth term in the House, was the first congressional Republican to endorse the idea of a ban on bump stocks.
Flores’ spokesman confirmed the congressman’s position on Wednesday.
On the House side, a similar bump stock ban bill has 148 co-sponsors, but so far they’re all Democrats.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the senior Republican senator from Texas, also told reporters Wednesday that the bump stock issue is worth examining, and that he spoke with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, about holding a hearing.
‘I will tell you that the unique aspect of the bump stock and how you would literally transform a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon is something that I think bears looking into,’ Cornyn said.
Several other Senate Republicans also signaled their desire for a hearing on bump stocks.
On Sunday night, when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock pumped bullet after bullet into the crowd below his Mandalay Bay hotel room he had 12 such devices.
So far the death toll stands at 58, with more than 500 wounded. ‘Those numbers are simply stunning,’ Feinstein uttered.
The devices, known as ‘bump stocks’ among other things, are legal and were originally intended to help people with limited hand mobility to fire a semi-automatic without the individual trigger pulls required.
They are attached to the rear of the gun and allow the rifle to slide back and forward while firing, causing the trigger to ‘bump’ into the shooter’s finger with the natural recoil of each shot.
So long as the shooter keeps his or her finger over the trigger, the semi-automatic gun will keep firing rapidly – much like a full-automatic.
The result is that the weapon’s rate of fire is increased from between 45 and 60 rounds per minute to between 400 and 800 rounds per minute, according to Feinstein’s office.
The California Democrat explained how bump stocks cost less than $200 and turn legal semiautomatic weapons into automatic ones, which are supposed to be illegal for civilians to have in the United States.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein was joined at a press conference by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (left), and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. (right)
ON THE FENCE? Republican Sens. John Thune, R-S.D. (left) and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (right) both indicated Wednesday that the bump stock issue was worth a look
The bill makes it illegal for anyone to ‘import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess’ trigger cranks or bump stocks, along with any other device that turns a semiautomatic weapon into a ‘machine gun.’
‘The only reason to modify a gun is to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible,’ Feinstein said.
The quick pace of the gun fire from Sunday’s shooting was audible in video footage from the event, as Paddock sprayed bullets onto attendees of the Route 91 Harvest country musical festival on the Las Vegas strip.
‘The searing noise of that staccato firing in Las Vegas that every body has now heard countless times should be a wake-up call to this Congress,’ said Blumenthal when he took his turn at the podium. ‘That firing ought to be echoing in our minds as we consider whether a bump stock device should be able to be sold lawfully, online.’
Rep. Bill Flores, a popular Texas conservative serving in his fourth term in the House, was the first congressional Republican to endorse the idea of a ban on bump stocks
They can fit over the rear shoulder-stock assembly on an automatic rifle and with applied pressure cause the weapon to fire continuously, increasing the rate from between 45 and 60 rounds per minute to between 400 and 800 rounds per minute
President Trump visited survivors, family members, first responders and medical providers in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Speaking directly to the president, Blumenthal said: ‘I hope you will provide leadership and at the very least back a bill that stops these killer accelerators, like these bump stops.’
The White House’s initial reaction to the shooting was to say that it was premature to bring up gun control measures.
Feinstein, echoing many of her fellow Democrats, asked, ‘If not, when will we ever do it?’
At the presser she also talked about how close she came to having a truly personal stake in this latest gun-related tragedy.
‘My own daughter was going to go. They were going to go with neighbors. They were going to stay at that hotel,’ she said. ‘That’s how close it came to me.’
‘I thought, oh God, it’s one of those misses in life,’ the Democratic senator said.