In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, gun control laws are in the spotlight. Again. After previous shootings, laws have not budged. This time around, things might be different.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has called for consideration of new regulations on bump stocks. Bump stocks are attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to become a bit more automatic. They fire faster with the addition of a bump stock, which is put in place of a rifle’s standard stock, due to the rifle now being able to slide back and forth faster.
Currently, bump stocks are not banned despite how they enable weapons to fire like a fully automatic weapon would, at speeds close to a machine gun.
On May 19, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Firearm Owners Protection Act. This banned the sale of and possession of newly produced machine guns, while automatic weapons made before May 19, 1986 were still allowed with proper regulations in place for the possession, purchase and sale of them.To be clear, it is illegal to own fully automatic weapons and has been since 1986. However, a bump stock creates nearly the same effect. Loop-hole much?
With the help of bump stocks, the Las Vegas shooter killed 58 people and injured almost 500.
There were 12 bump stocks found in the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room, according to Jill Snyder, agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She claims that bump stocks do not technically alter firearms to fire completely automatically, therefore making them legal under the current federal law.
Now, Democratic and Republican senators alike are looking to make some progress in outlawing bump stocks. Partisan lines look like they are blurring for now. Senators like Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. want to discuss how to prevent modifications to weapons. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. is at the center of this discussion.
An advocate for an assault weapons ban, Feinstein claims that “America is a gun happy country”.
My message to Americans: Stand with us and demand action. It’s the least we can do to honor the nearly 600 people killed or injured in Las Vegas.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 4, 2017
However, the Executive Director of the NRA Chris Cox also claims that the issue with the Las Vegas shooting was not due to guns and their modifications. He says the real issue is found in the individual who committed the crime. On Thursday, October 5, the NRA announced that it will review if bump stocks comply with federal law.
For many Democratic senators who have pushed for gun control in the past, this may be a step in the right direction. Cox says he does not support a complete ban of bump stocks, but does support increased regulations on them. In spite of this, Sen. Chris Murphy D-Conn. spoke of feeling encouraged by the dialogue occurring between both sides of the bipartisanship.
And so are we. Bipartisanship, it’s been a minute.
Cover image via PBS