Gun control measure gets boost from unexpected sources, including Utah Republicans

Posted at 5:53 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 19:53:34-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- In a dramatic change on Capitol Hill, the gun control debate appears to be gaining momentum in conservative circles, at least when it comes to a particular accessory used by the man who shot and killed 58 people in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters he is concerned about bump stocks.

"Fully automatic weapons have been outlawed for many, many years. This seems to be a way of going around that," Ryan said.

In a rare move supporting a possible restriction, the National Rifle Association issued a statement credited to their CEO Wayne LaPierre and Executive Director Chris Cox.

"The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations," the NRA statement said.

Bump stocks are devices costing between one hundred and three hundred dollars that attach to semi-automatic rifles, most often used with AR-15 and AK-47 variant assault rifles. They replace the stock, and, with a front grip, use the bounce of a gun's recoil to bump the trigger against the shooter's finger again and again, allowing guns to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

"It's just a way of getting around the law," said Representative Mia Love, a Republican representing Utah's Fourth District.

Love said she is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but bump stocks may be an exception, because she can't see a practical use for the accessory.

Others in Utah's congressional delegation seems to agree with Love.

Senator Orrin Hatch told a group of reporters he didn't know much about bump stocks before this week.

"I'm not against doing something about that," Hatch said. "I'm very concerned with what police found in that hotel room."

Representative Chris Stewart addressed the subject on Twitter, saying, "It is my view that these devices circumvent the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act. This type of modification to a gun should be controlled."