Republican leads bipartisan House effort to ban ‘bump stocks’

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Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who represents the Florida Keys area in Congress, wants to ban bump fire stocks (Photo: House Republican Conference)

 

Backers hope co-sponsors will join in supporting the legislation “Noah’s Ark-style,” with each lawmaker bringing another from across the aisle.

Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, joined by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, announced their proposal Thursday, which aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” which have become a hot-button item after their use in the Route 91 Harvest shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman reportedly had as many as a dozen rifles equipped with the devices.

“For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for firearm reform, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats,” Curbelo, who represents the Florida Keys area in Congress, said in a statement. “Common sense legislation that does not restrict Second Amendment rights is an important first step in addressing gun violence in our country. By banning devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law, we can show that Congress is capable of working constructively to make Americans safer.”

Moulton, Curbelo’s opposite from across the aisle, made headlines earlier this week when he refused to participate in a moment of silence on the House floor for the Las Vegas victims. He argued for action instead.

“It’s time for Members of Congress to find the courage to come together and finally do something to help stop the epidemic of mass shootings,” said Moulton.

The new proposal would compete with S.1916 and HR 3947, a pair of partisan bills introduced on Wednesday by Democrats banning both bump and slide-fire style stocks as well as “crank triggers” with exceptions for military and law enforcement use.

While the language of the Curbelo-Moulton act is not available, the Democrat proposal seemingly has no provision outlined to grandfather the thousands of stocks and triggers already in circulation.

Several Republicans have voiced support for a ban on the devices while House Majority Leader Paul Ryan said he was open to a vote on the matter.

It’s not just GOP members in Washington looking to outlaw the ATF-approved accessories which until last week were uncontroversial. Republican governors John Kasich of Ohio and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts also came out this week as backing a prohibition on bump fire stocks with Baker going so far as saying he would sign such a bill “tomorrow” if it was sent to him by lawmakers.

However, there at least a few Republicans are non-committal on an outright ban, with Montana’s entire Congressional delegation– including Democrat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester– shying away from the concept as a block at least until they get more information on the subject.

“I think we should hold a hearing on the issue so we can hear from firearms experts, disability advocates, and law enforcement,” said Tester.

Gun rights groups are wandering in the political landscape on a looming prohibition with NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre saying it may be time to “take a look at that and see if it’s in compliance with federal law, and it’s worthy of additional regulation” which some Dems have characterized as a dodge. The more conservative Gun Owners of America, meanwhile, is staunchly against any ban.

The devices are already reportedly illegal in California and New York while Democrats in New Jersey and Washington are backing statewide prohibitions of their own.

Gun stocks fluctuate as investigation into Vegas shooting deepens

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Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers stage in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 1, 2017.

 

 

Share prices for most gun makers ended on a high note Thursday as the ongoing investigation into the Las Vegas shooting triggers swings in the market.

Sturm, Ruger and Co. and Vista Outdoor made small gains after the National Rifle Association said the federal government should reexamine bump stocks — a legal modification to rifles mimicking automatic fire. American Outdoor Brands slipped less than one percent Thursday after posting a 4 percent increase 24 hours after the shooting.

“We didn’t talk about banning anything,” Chris Cox, NRA-ILA’s executive director, told Tucker Carlson during an interview Thursday on Fox News. “We talked about the ATF going back and looking at if these (bump stocks) comply with federal law.”

Bump stocks made headlines this week after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed 12 of the modification devices were found in 64-year-old Stephen Paddock’s two-room suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay and Casino. Paddock perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in American history Sunday when he fired into a crowded country music festival from the windows of his hotel room, killing 58 and wounding 489 others.

Stocks for ShotSpotter — described as a “global leader in gunfire detection and location technology” on its website — jumped nearly 12 percent Thursday after the NRA’s public statement. Congressional Republicans likewise expressed public support for considering a bump stock ban, or at the very least, a review of the devices.

“Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time, apparently this allows you to take a semi-automatic and turn it into a fully automatic, so clearly that’s something we need to look into,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.

Authorities still don’t know why Paddock, a retired accountant and frequent gambler, attacked the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Local and federal investigators found no ties to international terrorism while the gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, insists he wasn’t particularly religious or partisan.

“What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Wednesday. “He meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history.”

New details in the case have emerged over the last four days indicating Paddock may have planned to target the Life Is Beautiful music festival a week earlier after evidence connected him to an Airbnb rental at a condominium within the festival’s 18-block boundary. Lombardo wouldn’t speculate why exactly the gunman rented the rooms.

He would confirm, however, Paddock checked into his room at Mandalay Bay on Sept. 28 where spent the next three days stocking his room with an arsenal of nearly two dozen firearms, including 12 modified with bump stocks. Authorities also found chemicals used to make explosives and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car.

“Our resolve is strong,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said during a press conference Wednesday. “We will get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes.”

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