Susan Walsh / AP
“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,” Curbelo said in a statement. “This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights.”
Curbelo, whose district went for Hillary Clinton by 16 percentage points last year — the highest margin for any Republican on the ballot next year — is considered one of the GOP’s
most endangered members. He has broken with his party to work with Democrats on immigration, climate change and other controversial issues.
In the wake of the Las Vegas attack, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Republicans — and even the National Rifle Association — have
expressed openness to banning bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic ones.
Most of those Republicans, however, have yet to back legislation to actually do that. And other bills on the issue, including one
introduced last week by Democrats in the Senate, have had a hard time finding any GOP support.
The Republicans who signed onto the Curbelo-Moulton bill hail mainly from moderate swing districts, including several that Democrats plan to target in next year’s midterm elections.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that
he’s open to banning bump stocks, but it’s unclear if he would actually push the issue to a vote on the floor of the GOP-controlled House.
Many Republicans prefer the approach favored by the NRA, which opposes an outright ban on bump stocks in favor of stricter regulation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Critics dismiss that approach as deflection, however, since the
ATF has said it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks unless Congress passes a new law.