WASHINGTON — Some key Republicans are showing interest in a narrowly written, Democratic gun-control bill to ban “bump stock” attachments that enable rapid firing.
The bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top-ranking Democrat, responds to revelations that some of the weapons Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used to commit the worst mass shooting in U.S. modern history Sunday were apparently outfitted — legally — with bump stock devices.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., originally thought bump stocks were illegal. When a reporter told him that they are currently legal, he responded: “I’d look at (Feinstein’s bill) for sure.”
“You can’t buy a chain-fed machine gun in the United States today, there’s a reason for that, and I’d want to make sure that nobody has access to that, if that’s the law of the land," he said.
A gap in current law allows shooters with semi-automatic weapons to accelerate the rate of fire by attaching bump stocks, slide fire devices and other similar accessories. The bump stock automatically forces the trigger back against the shooter's finger after each shot.
“Some have said we shouldn’t do this now,” Feinstein said. “Now is not the time. When is the time going to be there? There is no better way to honor the 59 people who were slaughtered than to take action.”
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The bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation, manufacture or possession of bump stocks, trigger cranks and similar accessories that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. Feinstein said the "short and plain spoken language" of the bill will let everyone know what is banned, "no matter how fancy the device is."
Feinstein introduced the legislation with more than 20 Democratic co-sponsors. She said she is working to win Republican support for the bill and plans to reach out to President Trump, who is in Las Vegas today.
Trump, a Second Amendment proponent, has avoided questions about gun-control legislation, saying on Tuesday, "We'll be talking about gun laws as time goes on."