Politics

Curbelo, Moulton Introduce Bipartisan Bump Stock Legislation

Twenty House members, 10 Democratic and 10 GOP, are co-sponsors

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Nass., left, and Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to ban bump stock rifle attachments. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Seth Moulton introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to ban devices — including bump stocks — that “increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle.”

The bill aims to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks, attachments that can increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle tenfold — essentially making them fully automatic.

The Florida Republican and Massachusetts Democrat were joined by 18 co-sponsors from both parties.

“We can always be doing more, but this bill is a crucial starting point,” Moulton said in a statement.

“Keeping this conversation going, passing this legislation, and listening to the American people will allow us to help make America safer so that we do not need to live in fear of weapons of war being used against our families and friends,” Moulton said.

Bump stocks were thrust into the spotlight after investigators discovered 12 rifles fitted with the devices in a 32nd-floor room at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a gunman opened fire on concert-goers on Oct. 1.

Stephen Paddock, 64, killed at least 58 people and injured at least 520 more before committing suicide.

“This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights,” Curbelo said in a statement, referring to a 1986 law banning automatic rifles.

Some House Democrats have indicated the Curbelo-Moulton bill does not go far enough to penalize violators, an unnecessary concession to the pro-gun lobby in Washington.

Rep. Dina Titus, who re-introduced her Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act banning bump stocks last week — and whose district comprises the center of Las Vegas — is one of them.

“Rep. Curbelo’s bill almost mirrors the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act, but it carries weaker penalties for criminal violators,” Titus said in a statement. “There is no reason to undermine our position at this point just to satisfy the NRA.”

Republican House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin has indicated he might be willing to put legislation restricting bump stocks on the agenda.

“Clearly that’s something we need to look into,” he said last week, adding that he did not know what a bump stock was until the massacre Sunday in Las Vegas.

“We’re quickly coming up to speed with what this is.”

Momentum for slapping regulations on bump stocks has also been building among Republicans on the Senate side, although Republican leadership in that chamber has balked at the idea of considering legislation in the wake of the violence in Las Vegas.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said last week. “The investigation has not even been completed. And I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”

 

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