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 GrassleyTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser Ramirez's attorney says Republicans were no-shows on scheduled call Grassley taps Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Kavanaugh, Ford 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 CornynGOP confidence grows on Kavanaugh Senate panel schedules Friday morning vote for Kavanaugh McConnell 'confident we’re going to win' on Kavanaugh 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 HeinrichA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too Election Countdown: What to watch in final primaries | Dems launch M ad buy for Senate races | Senate seats most likely to flip | Trump slump worries GOP | Koch network's new super PAC Rand Paul endorses Gary Johnson's Senate bid 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 McCainUpcoming Kavanaugh hearing: Truth or consequences How the Trump tax law passed: Dealing with a health care hangover Kavanaugh’s fate rests with Sen. Collins 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.