THE US government and the gun lobby mooted restrictions on purchase of the “bump stock” device used by the Las Vegas massacre gunman on Thursday — while dismissing calls for gun control as a bid to “politicise” the atrocity.
Stephen Paddock used an arsenal of 16 assault rifles, 12 of them equipped with the device, in his massacre of 58 people last Saturday night.
The bump stock uses recoil to bump the trigger into the shooter’s finger after each shot — effectively turning a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic one.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) said it was “unfortunate” that some politicians had called for gun control but added that it wanted the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau to look into the regulations around bump stocks.
“The other side has been so outright trying to politicise this tragedy that we did feel the need to speak out today on this whole bump stock issue,” explained NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre, while emphasising to owners of such devices that “we didn’t say ban, we didn’t say confiscate.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the presidency welcomed “a conversation on that.”
But Democrats insisted an ATF rule change was not enough.
“Federal regulations won’t be able to fully close this loophole,” said California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who introduced a Bill this week to ban the devices.
“Legislation would make crystal clear that Congress is banning all devices that allow a weapon to achieve an automatic rate of fire.”
Gun industry analyst Robert Spitzer, chairman of political sciences at the State of New York University Cortland, said: “It’s a pretty small concession. We’re not talking about banning assault weapons here. It’s a very specific accessory.”