WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan signaled openness Thursday to looking into bump-fire stocks, devices that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire at a rapidly increased rate, similar to an automatic firearm, as other Republicans have shown an openness to at least discussing a ban on the devices.
In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Ryan told Hugh Hewitt in an interview for his MSNBC show that “clearly that’s something we need to look into.”
Ryan’s comments come as one senior House GOP member told CNN enough House Republicans are likely to agree to a push for legislation that would ban bump stocks that something could pass in the GOP-controlled House.
“There’s enough Republicans who are looking for something that they can say ‘I did something.’ And the bump stock is an Obama policy. That was approved by the ATF in 2010 and 2012, so why would we defend that?”
The ATF said in 2010 that it did not believe bump stocks to be regulated under existing gun laws because it is a firearm part.
This source believed that there would be a GOP-sponsored bill from a group of moderate Republicans that would narrowly address the issue. While many in the GOP conference will oppose it, this member believed based on conversations with colleagues that there would not be a huge pushback to block it, even from the NRA.
It’s unclear how the legislation would be drafted, but the easiest way would be to simply reverse current ATF policy rather than institute a ban on the manufacture and sales of the accessories.
In his comments, Ryan said that he — like a lot of members of Congress — just learned about the accessories in recent days.
“Look, I didn’t even know what they were until this week, and I’m an avid sportsman,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a clip of the interview that aired Thursday. “So, I think we’re quickly coming up to speed with what this is. Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time. Apparently this allows you to take a semiautomatic and turn it into a fully automatic so clearly that’s something we need to look into.”
The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, Sen. John Cornyn, told reporters Wednesday that he was interested in having a hearing on the matter, a change of tone for a Republican conference that has been dubious about making any regulatory changes related to the Second Amendment.