According to The Washington Post, the National Rifle Association has come out in support of a bump stock ban.
Bump stocks are devices that can be fitted on semiautomatic weapons to make them behavior more like fully automatic weapons. Authorities have said the man behind the Las Vegas mass shooting, Stephen Paddock, used bump stocks on the guns in his arsenal.
The NRA’s announcement makes it easier for Republican lawmakers to support a bump stock ban. Some Republicans have refrained from backing gun control measures because they are afraid the NRA would support candidates who challenged them in Republican primaries.
It remains to be seen if there will be support for other gun control measures like universal background checks.
Republicans are concerned about the larger national mood in the lead-up to the 2018 Congressional elections. Some observers believe supporting a bump stock ban could make Republicans look more forceful on the issue of gun control.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.), and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Congress would consider restrictions on bump stocks. There is even wider support for such measures among Republicans in the Senate.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump was “open to having that conversation” when it came to banning bump stocks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was one of the few members of the leadership who declined to comment on a potential bump stock ban.
The NRA also blamed the Obama Administration for authorizing the sale of bump stocks in 2010. At that time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives concluded that a bump stock “is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.”
Long-time gun control advocates accused the NRA of insincerity.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is sponsoring legislation in the Senate. Her bill targets not only bump stocks, but other devices as well. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) was sponsoring a similar bill the House. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fl.) is sponsoring less restrictive legislation that only targets bump stocks.
While 38 Democrats have signed on in support of Feinstein’s bill, some senators, like Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who are facing tough reelection campaigns in conservative states, have hesitated to support her proposal.