As Republicans in Congress voice increasing openness to reviewing bump stocks in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, conservatives have sought to tie those gun add-ons back to the Obama administration.
Several conservatives have pointed out since Wednesday night that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) decided in 2010 that bump stocks would not be regulated under the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.
Bump stocks are a legally available mechanism that, when attached to a semi-automatic weapon, increase the speed at which the weapon can fire, allowing the gun to shoot between 400 and 800 rounds in a minute. They were initially created as a way to help disabled people shoot guns. Police found bump stocks on 12 guns in the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room, prompting lawmakers to take a closer look at the devices.
When asked Thursday morning on CNN about the potential for gun control legislation to move forward, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway mentioned twice that bump stocks had been approved by the ATF under the Obama administration.
Kellyanne Conway: "The Second Amendment is a bedrock principle of our Constitution … that should be protected" https://t.co/2WYmWASFmo
— New Day (@NewDay) October 5, 2017
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who said Wednesday he was open to reviewing bump stocks, also noted the ATF’s 2010 decision in a tweet Thursday morning.
This is what Obama era ATF said about “bump-stocks” https://t.co/KhsBUtZsd8
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) October 5, 2017
Several conservative news outlets seized on that timeline, too. Breitbart News noted that the ATF approved bump stocks under Obama “because they do not convert a semiautomatic rifle into an automatic.”
The Resurgent went up with the headline, “Guess who approved the ‘bump stock’? That’s right, Obama’s ATF.” The article’s author, Steve Berman, wrote, “Liberals are all enraged that Stephen Paddock could transform two AR-15s into ‘machine guns’ using a simple ‘bump stock’ device. Now they know who to blame.”
National Rifle Association spokeswoman and conservative radio host Dana Loesch also noted the 2010 approval on Twitter:
Bump-Stock Device Received ATF Green Light During Obama Administration: https://t.co/OAy00sNxT1
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) October 4, 2017