BRANFORD, CT — After staying silent for days, the National Rifle Association on Thursday came out in support of additional federal regulations on bump stocks, a firearm accessory that allowed the Las Vegas massacre shooter to convert some of his semiautomatic rifles to fully automatic fire.
It was the first statement by the NRA since the Sunday night shooting by Stephen Paddock that left 58 dead and nearly 500 wounded, 50 of them critically.
Paddock reportedly was armed with 23 rifles, a dozen of which were modified with bump stocks during the massacre — the deadliest shooting in the history of the United States.
The position statement by the NRA is expected to give cover to Republicans to support a ban on bump stocks — meaning there’s a chance of rare bipartisan action on gun control in Congress.
The NRA’s complete statement calls on the ATF to review bump stocks and that they should be “subject to additional regulations.”
The statement goes on to say: “Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks.
“This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved.”
The organization also took a jab at former President Barack Obama’s administration, pointing out that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 2010 decided bump-stock modifiers do not convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons, which are more heavily regulated.
The NRA said: “Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, in reaction to the NRA’s statement, said that the bump stock ban was “something we need to look into.”
President Donald Trump has also indicated in statements after the Las Vegas shooting that he welcomes the discussion on possible Congressional action on bump stock devices.
A ban on bump stock devices is being called for by both of Connecticut’s United States senators and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
The governor said Wednesday that he expects that when the legislature is back in session early next year that legislation will be introduced to ban bump stocks in Connecticut.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have been urging their colleagues to ban bump stock devices and toughen up background checks on firearm sales. They also introduced legislation Thursday that would repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) passed by Congress in 2005.
In an unapologetic email to his supporters Thursday night, Murphy said he’s been accused of using the Las Vegas massacre to score political points.
“My instinct was to let a few days go by without talking about how we can change laws to prevent this slaughter. No more,” Murphy said in a fundraising email. “The only one that benefits from a required period of silence and non-action is the gun lobby. I do not accept the premise that there is a waiting period before engaging in political action.”
Murphy asked supporters to give to Gabby Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions.