Bump stocks at center of debate on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- There's growing pressure on lawmakers to consider banning a controversial gun accessory. The debate over 'bump stocks' is heating up in state houses and on Capitol Hill.

Investigators say the Vegas shooter used this device when he opened fire at a crowded concert. Now the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says it's time to make bump stocks illegal everywhere. This activist group is partnering with a Vegas law firm in a class action law suit filed in a Nevada district court against bump stock manufacturers and retailers.

But co-president Avery Gardiner wants to see more action taken.

"What we need is federal legislation, federal standards that will keep us all safer," said Gardiner.

Officials say Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock used this bump stock device in a massacre that left dozens dead and hundreds injured. The accessory in question can be attached to a semi-automatic rifle to shoot faster than you can pull the trigger. Massachusetts just approved a ban on bump stocks.

"It’s going to be too easy for criminals who are intending to hurt a lot of people to cross state lines, buy the accessories they want and bring them back into other states to kill people," said Gardiner.

In response to these safety concerns, a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill sent a letter to the ATF asking the agency to review this issue.

"It’s illegal if you are going to be using an automatic weapon," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

Inhofe was among Republicans who wrote to the ATF about this matter. He says he wants clarity about whether the bump stocks are *already in violation of federal law.

"They’re making this evaluation now and if it is designed as a way to circumvent the law, I will be one of the first in line to make sure that it is being treated like an automatic weapon," said Inhofe.

But all this talk has made Virginia gun owner Jim Snyder concerned about hasty legislative action.

“I hope that cooler heads will prevail and nothing will happen on this," said Jim Snyder, a gun rights supporter.

Snyder - who says he has no interest in owning a bump stock - still disagrees with banning them. The ATF determined in 2010 the devices make it easier to pull the trigger faster but do not turn a gun into a functional automatic weapon.

"You can get all kinds of accessories for firearms. The real issue is the individual and not the tool the individual used," said Snyder.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.



 
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