Oct. 5 (UPI) — As Las Vegas police try to determine a motive for the mass shooting that killed dozens last weekend, the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives said Thursday that lawmakers will look into the legality of so-called “bump stocks” for firearms.
Gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 people Sunday from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Authorities said he may have used a “bump stock,” which accelerates the rate of gunfire and allows a shooter to fire more bullets in a condensed period of time. Several “bump stocks” were found on other firearms from Paddock’s room, investigators said.
With a “bump stock,” a shooter can modify a weapon to fire at close to the rate of a full automatic.
“I think we’re quickly coming up to speed with what this is,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told MSNBC. “Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. Apparently this allows you to take a semiautomatic and turn it into a fully automatic. So clearly that’s something we need to look into.”
Ryan said he didn’t know what a “bump stock” was until the attack.
The speaker’s remarks indicate the possibility that he Republican-controlled Congress could ban “bump stocks” — at a time when many on Capitol Hill are calling for sweeping gun violence mitigation reforms.
“We’re going to look at the issue,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., told The Washington Post Thursday. Asked if he had a personal concern about their legality, he said, “I have a personal concern about what happened.”
“The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Exploives must re-evaluate these devices, and it is my hope that they conclude these mechanisms violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the law,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., added in a statement. “In the meantime, my colleagues and I will consider legislative options, because these fully-automatic simulator devices have no place in civil society.”
Democratic House leaders like Rep. Nancy Peosi of California have also repeated calls for action.
“This week, Republicans have refused to strengthen life-saving background checks or to walk away from a radical GOP bill opening the floodgates to silencers and armor-piercing bullets,” she said.
“Democrats will never stop fighting to protect American families, and we urge our Republican colleagues to join us to take long overdue action to reduce the horror.”
Several members of the House and Senate have called for a select commission on gun violence.