Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) on Wednesday said Congress should ban the sale of bump stocks, add-ons that make semi-automatic guns behave like automatic weapons, 12 of which were found on rifles in the Las Vegas gunman’s hotel room.
“In my view of the world, anything that makes a semi-automatic weapon behave like an automatic weapon ought to also be illegal,” Flores said in a Wednesday interview with Texas radio station WTAW. “I do think we need to take a look at making those illegal or somehow become controlled—subject to tight controls. I don’t see a reason for the average gun owner to have a bump stock.”
“I think we can do that and still protect the Second Amendment,” he added.
The Texas congressman followed up in an interview with The Hill and said that bump stocks should be banned.
Flores, a former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, is the first Republican in Congress to call outright for a ban on bump stocks.
Other Republicans on Capitol Hill have said they would be open to hearings on bump stocks and potentially to legislation addressing them, suggesting that Congress could move forward with some kind of gun control measure in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill that Congress should hold hearings on bump stocks once the investigation into the shooting has been completed.
NEW: GOP Sen John Cornyn says Congress should hold hearing to examine whether `bump stocks,' used by Las Vegas shooter, should be banned
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) October 4, 2017
Cornyn tells reporters he thinks Congress should look into bump stocks once the investigation into the Vegas shooting is complete.
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) October 4, 2017
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dean Heller (R-NV) also believe Congress should look into bump stocks, according to NBC News.
“One of the concerns that I have is the ability to manipulate a semi-automatic rifle and turn it into a fully automatic rifle,” Heller said, as quoted by NBC. “There has to be a way to be able to stop this.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who would have jurisdiction over the issue as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has indicated he won’t move quickly for a hearing on bump stocks, if he pushes for a review of them at all.
He told reporters in Iowa that the Senate is unlikely to move forward with any gun control legislation, noting that a bill would need the support of 60 senators to go anywhere. He also argued that it’s premature to consider legislation before the investigation into the shooting is completed.
“We’re still learning what really happened there,” Grassley said, according to the Des Moines Register. “We need to wait and see what the police reports say. Were loopholes exploited? We need to study everything before we make some judgment.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee who’s long advocated for an assault weapons ban, on Wednesday introduced a bill to ban bump stocks.