On Wednesday, breaking away from their conventional wisdom, lawmakers on the right side of the aisle said they are willing to support a ban on ‘bump stocks’ after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“If somebody can essentially convert a semi-automatic weapon by buying one of these and utilizing it and cause the kind of mayhem and mass casualties that we saw in Las Vegas, that’s something of obvious concern that we ought to explore,” Majority Whip and Senior Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said in an interview.
Further speaking on the initiative in another interview, fellow Republican Senator Ron Johnson said he’s open to banning the devices as well:
″I have no problem in banning those.”
Lawmakers’ leading concern about bump stock devices is how they are currently legal.
Meant to work as an attachment to a firearm, bump stocks allow guns to operate like a semiautomatic weapon without technically being one under the law, creating a loophole, which can be exploited by people, including the Vegas shooter.
According to the New York Times, a bump stock is a piece to replace the conventional stock on a rifle – the part braced against the shoulder when firing the weapon. It lets the gun move back and forth rapidly by utilizing the energy of the gun’s recoil every time it fires a bullet.
It can increase a weapon’s firing rate from 45-60 rounds a minute to between 450-800.
Senator Diane Feinstein (D, California) is pushing for legislation to ban bump stocks, as well.
According to Houston Public Media, the Senior Senator from California authored other gun control bills before, but without little success .
In a statement, Feinstein described how she wants to take it further than just regulating bump stocks:
“Accessories like bump fire stocks now allow semi-automatic weapons to achieve a fully-automatic rate off fire without holding the trigger down. And it does so without altering the trigger mechanism, meaning it doesn’t run afoul of the law,” a press release provided on her website. “Legislation would make crystal clear that Congress is banning all devices that allow a weapon to achieve an automatic rate of fire, regardless of how a weapon is altered.”
Gun rights remain at the forefront of discussion in Texas policy, especially after the tragedy in Vegas, where at least four Texans lost their lives.