NRA breaks silence after Vegas shooting to call for 'additional regulations' on bump stocks
The National Rifle Association has broken its silence four days after the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history to call for “additional regulations” on bump-fire stocks, which the Las Vegas shooter used to turn his semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons. But alongside the rare concession, the NRA also suggested it was time for further relaxation of laws permitting Americans to carry concealed firearms. Bump stocks sell out across US as ban looms after Las Vegas shooting Read more “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, the group’s two leading figures, said in a joint statement. The NRA pair blamed the Obama administration for approving the devices for sale “on at least two occasions”, and called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law”. The NRA’s suggestion comes after Republican lawmakers indicated they might support a ban on the devices. Firearms enthusiasts called bump-fire stocks a novelty device that made guns hard to fire accurately, and said they had no real self-defense value. But in the same statement, the NRA claimed gun control laws would not stop further attacks, and called on Congress to pass a law that would make it easier for owners to carry weapons across state lines – a measure that would gut local restrictions on gun carrying and might make it legal for tourists to carry their firearms on the New York City subway. Passing this “right-to-carry reciprocity” law, the NRA argued, “will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence”. The NRA said banning guns “will do nothing to prevent future attacks – a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world”. Researchers who study the effects of major gun restrictions – including in Australia, which saw a decline in murders and no further large-casualty mass shootings after buying back hundreds of thousands of guns in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 – would probably disagree. Moves in Congress In Washington, Republican leaders said they would consider restrictions on bump stocks, raising the prospect of the first US gun control legislation for years. “Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time,” the House speaker, Paul Ryan, told MSNBC on Thursday. “Apparently, this [the bump stock] allows you to take a semi-automatic and turn it into a fully automatic. So clearly that’s something we need to look into.” The mass shooting on Sunday night in Las Vegas that left 58 victims plus the gunman dead and wounded nearly 500 has reopened debate around the need for tougher gun laws. Officials said 12 of the rifles authorities recovered from the hotel suite used by gunman Stephen Paddock were fitted with bump stocks. “I didn’t even know what they were until this week,” said Ryan, a frequent hunter. “I think we’re quickly coming up to speed with what this is.” He offered no other details about what action the Republican-controlled House might take or what the timeline would be. But the remarks signalled a shift for a party that has thwarted legislative reform even as the horrors of Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Orlando have piled up. Nevertheless, for many anti-gun activists, curtailing these devices would be the minimum Congress could do. If that’s the only action we take after 58 Americans are shot and killed, we should be ashamed of ourselves Shannon Watts, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said: “Of course bump stocks should be prohibited, but if that’s the only action we take after 58 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more injured, we should be ashamed of ourselves. “We’ll work with legislators interested in prohibiting bump stocks, but we’ll also demand other laws to help save American lives. Now is the time to demand that lawmakers prioritise people over gun manufacturers’ profits.” Ryan’s comments followed a call on Wednesday by the Senate’s No 2 Republican, John Cornyn, for an examination of bump stocks. “I own a lot of guns and as a hunter and sportsman I think that’s our right as Americans, but I don’t understand the use of this bump stock, and that’s another reason to have a hearing,” he said.