In the wake of this weekend’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) proposed a ban on the “bump stock,” a device that makes semiautomatic weapons function like automatic ones, which are generally banned in the United States.
Police found 12 bump stocks in the Mandalay Bay hotel room from which the gunman shot, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more, making for one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history.
The bump stock itself has proven to be new to many Republicans on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday two Republican Congress members, Reps. Tom Cole (OK) and Mark Meadows (NC), both told Vox they had never even heard of the device.
But this isn’t the first time Feinstein has raised concern about bump stocks in Congress — she brought up a similar restriction in 2013 that proposed banning all semiautomatic weapons that could accept a “military feature” like a detachable stock. At the time, the bill faced fierce opposition even among Democratic senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The proposal was never brought to a stand-alone vote.
Now, as awareness around mass shootings and gun violence rises again, Feinstein has brought up another ban on the bump stocks themselves. This time, there seems to be some interest even among Republican members who have been pushed to join yet another national conversation about gun laws.
“I think it’s something we ought to look into,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told Politico. “I don’t know a lot about them and I’m somebody who, I’d like to think, is fairly familiar with a lot of firearms and you know, the use of those. And that incident out there is something that I think we need to take a look at.”
Of course, as with Feinstein’s first proposals on bump stocks, this isn’t the first time Congress has looked into gun laws and ultimately changed nothing.
- Vox’s German Lopez explains the “bump stock” in more detail, and how it became a loophole to acquire automatic weapons.
- Republicans don’t seem to have many ideas on how to address gun laws. Here’s what five House Republicans had to say about Congress acting in response to the Las Vegas shooting.
- The United States has had more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook in 2012. These 17 maps and charts show how this is a uniquely American problem.