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Bipartisan lawmakers propose regulating gun bump stocks

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday to regulate a device used by the Las Vegas mass shooter to make semi-automatic rifles fire faster.

The bill, authored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and Dave Trott (R-Mich.), stops short of banning the devices, known as “bump stocks.”

Instead, their proposal would require people to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if they own or purchase a bump stock. The process would include a background check, finger printing and a $200 registration fee.

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“Anyone who wants a device that modifies a firearm to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute should undergo thorough background checks and oversight. Congress must take meaningful action to address this national epidemic. We cannot stand in silence any longer,” said Titus, who represents Las Vegas.

“We must do everything in our power to prevent the kind of evil we see in horrifying incidents like the Las Vegas shootings, and resolve as a nation to confront this evil through meaningful, bipartisan legislative action and an ongoing commitment to keep our communities safe from gun violence,” added Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent and gun crimes prosecutor.

Current law bans the purchase or possession of fully automatic weapons manufactured after 1986. But bump stocks effectively circumvent that ban by making semi-automatic rifles resemble illegal weapons.

Another bipartisan bill introduced earlier this month by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) would prohibit the manufacture, sale or use of the devices, or anything similar that is designed to increase the rate of fire.

Their measure currently has 24 other co-sponsors, half of which are Republicans.

Titus had previously introduced a similar bill with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) to ban bump stocks, but it would impose harsher penalties on people who violate a bump stock ban than the Curbelo-Moulton legislation.

Despite the bipartisan coalition in favor of regulating bump stocks, it’s unlikely that GOP leaders will move gun-control legislation.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said earlier this month that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should take the lead on banning bump stocks through the regulatory process.

“We think the regulatory fix is the smartest, quickest fix, and I’d frankly like to know how it happened in the first place,” Ryan said.

The National Rifle Association has offered public support for additional regulations on bump stocks, but has not endorsed any legislation that lawmakers could consider.

Law enforcement found that the Las Vegas shooter had 12 bump stocks attached to rifles in his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort, where he shot at concert attendees on the ground below.

The Las Vegas massacre on the night of Oct. 1 was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with nearly 60 deaths and more than 500 wounded.

Tags Brian Fitzpatrick Carlos Curbelo David Cicilline Paul Ryan

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