By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4)– Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado’s Democrat senator, is co-sponsoring a bill to ban a device that helped the Las Vegas killer make semi-automatic guns shoot like machine guns.
The move comes as the National Rifle Association says it supports a review of the legality of the so-called “bump stocks” and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Republican, says he’s open to a vote on a bill to ban them.
The devices attach to a gun and allow a shooter to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.
“It’s about stopping more people like the Las Vegas killer from modifying his rifles to become almost fully automatic and far more deadly,” Bennet said in an emotional speech on the Senate floor, where he admonished his colleagues for failing to pass gun control, even as mass shootings become the norm.
“I know we can’t stop everyone madman or every random act of violence in this country… but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make them less likely,” said Bennet.
Walmart and Cabela’s have already pulled the devices from their shelves. Meantime, websites that do sell them can’t keep up with demand from gun owners worried they’ll be banned.
Dave Kopel, with the libertarian leaning think tank Independence Institute, is one of Colorado’s leading scholars on the Second Amendment.
He says strict regulation of bump stocks would be consistent with U.S. Supreme Court opinion, “Because it said machine guns are outside the Second Amendment right and so, by extension, devices that alter a gun to make it machine gunish would be the same.”
But, Dudley Brown with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, says his organization has four million members and will punish any republican who votes yes.
“We’re just going to call them out – call a spade for a spade – and say this is an anti-gun vote, you’re going to pay the consequences in the next election,” said Brown.
The NRA is taking a different approach. The organization is asking the ATF to strictly regulate bump stocks like it does machine guns to avoid a big gun control debate in Congress that could include things like universal background checks.
The Trump administration says it’s open to reviewing the ATF policy.