Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks

Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks, background checks
© Greg Nash

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on rules regulating firearm accessories and the national background check system in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyHigh stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Grassley raises voice after McConnell interrupts Senate speech MORE's (R-Iowa) office announced on Tuesday that they will hold a hearing in one week on "firearm accessory regulation and enforcing federal and state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)."

The formal announcement comes after a spokesman for the Iowa Republican told The Hill on Monday that the Senate panel would hold a hearing on bump stocks, a device that can simulate automatic gunfire with a semi-automatic weapon.

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Lawmakers have honed in on bump stocks after a mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, where nearly 60 people were killed and more than 500 others were injured. 

Authorities have said a dozen of the rifles used by the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, had been modified with bump stocks.

Meanwhile, senators are also mulling legislation to try to strengthen NICS in the wake of this week's shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Devin Kelley, the identified gunman, received a “bad conduct” discharge from the Air Force after being court-martialed on a domestic violence charge. Kelley’s court-martial conviction should have been reported to the FBI’s database and could have made it harder for him to purchase a gun legally.

But Air Force officials on Monday said the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigation did not enter Kelley’s information into the system.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said earlier Tuesday that he will introduce legislation to strengthen information sharing with NICS.

And Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems aim to block use of defense funds for wall | Watchdog issues new warning on Syria withdrawal | Trump wants to 'watch Iran' from Iraq Senate Dems introduce bill to block Trump from using military funds to build wall Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE (D-N.M.) are working on legislation to require that the military report domestic violence convictions to the national background check system.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, separately told reporters that he will hold a hearing on the Air Force's failure to report the conviction to the background check system, according to Stars and Stripes.