A bipartisan group of 20 House lawmakers proposed a bill Tuesday to ban bump stocks, while a leading gun control group sued manufacturers and dealers in state court in Nevada.
The proposed legislation comes after the stocks — which allow a semi-automatic rifle to be converted to near-fully automatic — were used in the Las Vegas massacre on Oct. 1.
Fifty-eight people were killed by Stephen Paddock, 64, who rained bullets on 22,000 people at a country music concert from 32nd floor windows at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Nearly 500 people were injured — either shot, trampled or struck by shrapnel.
Paddock shot himself before police could get to him through a barricaded hotel room door. No clear motive has emerged for his murderous spree.
Ten Republicans and 10 Democrats signed on to the bill as co-sponsors — an impressive show of bipartisanship on an issue that usually is sharply divided along party lines. Among them was Rep. Peter King, the Long Island conservative Republican.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in Clark County District Court in Nevada; it has three named plaintiffs — all victims of the shooting — and seeks class-action status.
“For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said in a statement.
“This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights.”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) called the bill a crucial starting point.
“It is time for Democrats and Republicans alike to find the courage to act,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, on behalf of the victims of the massacre.
Mourners pay tribute to victims of Las Vegas massacre
It claims that SlideFire misled federal authorities about their actual purpose, saying in 2010 it was for helping people with “limited mobility of the hands.”
In fact, the firm marketed the devices to gun-enthusiasts looking for thrills who wanted to fire a hard-to-legally-obtain machine gun.
Indeed, one ad produced by the company showed a picture of a gun with the device and a set up with a belt of ammunition. “Your rifle is hungry, feed it,” the slogan said.
Jeremiah Cottle, the inventor of the device, has said the device is for “people like me, who love full auto.”
Bump stocks were found among the weapons used by Stephen Paddock as he shot from a Las Vegas casino high-rise Oct. 1, killing 58 people at a concert and wounding hundreds.
SlideFire did not reply to a message Tuesday through its Facebook site. The company has stopped taking new orders.
“What their product is designed to do is subvert federal law on machine guns, and that’s irresponsible,” Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, told the Associated Press.
The gun industry enjoys protection from a 2005 shield law that bars lawsuits against it from shooting victims and victims of gun crimes.
Because the bump stock alone is not an actual gun, the shield law doesn’t apply, Gardiner told the AP.
The National Rifle Association has asked the ATF to look at tighter restrictions on the devices.
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