Colorado’s congresspeople are open to idea of “bump stock” ban in wake of Las Vegas massacre

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Washington, D.C.-, October 5, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON — Efforts on Capitol Hill to ban so-called “bump stocks,” a device used by the Las Vegas shooter, have gained traction among Colorado lawmakers — with several lawmakers in support and none so far in opposition.

The delegation’s Democrats have been the most outspoken in backing the legislative drive to prohibit the device, which accelerates the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet spoke on the floor of the Senate where he noted his support of a bill to prohibit bump stocks while criticizing Congress for not doing more to deter mass shootings.

“I heard somebody the other day on the television say that’s the price of freedom,” said the Colorado Democrat of the growing number of U.S. gun massacres. “What a shame that somebody would say that in the United States of America. What a surrender that represents to our children (and) to the victims of these crimes.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, his Republican counterpart, said in a recent interview that he was open to discussing the issue but wouldn’t commit to backing specific legislation.

Notably, a Gardner vote supporting a specific measure concerning bump stocks likely wouldn’t rile the powerful National Rifle Association. On Thursday afternoon, NRA officials called on federal authorities to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.”

On the House side, Colorado Democrats Diana DeGette and Ed Perlmutter both got on board a bill that would ban the sale and manufacturing of bump stocks.

“This isn’t a dispute over the Constitution. It’s flesh and blood, quite literally,” wrote DeGette in a post that notched support for several other gun-control measures, including a ban on online ammunition purchases.

The state’s third House Democrat — U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder — previously has been more reluctant than DeGette and Perlmutter to sign onto gun control measures and he said in a statement that he was assessing the proposals.

“I support the concept of banning bump stocks and devices that turn firearms into illegal automatic weapons,” Polis said. “We are still analyzing the various legislative options to determine the best way to get it done.”

For Perlmutter, the bump stock issue is nothing new. In 2013, he asked federal officials to ban them.

“I write urging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to rescind approval of gun products which allow for certain semiautomatic assault rifles to function as fully automatic when equipped with permanent ‘bump fire’ accessories,” Perlmutter wrote. “I believe that weapons featuring Slide Fire Stocks or similar permanent accessories employing bump fire mechanics transform an otherwise legal firearm into a weapon the NFA (National Firearms Act) intended to prohibit except when properly registered.”

An aide to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said he was signing onto a similar letter to the ATF that federal lawmakers are putting together this week in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that claimed dozens of lives.

Republican U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Mike Coffman would not say whether they backed restrictions on bump stocks — though neither of them said they were immediately opposed.

In the case of Buck, the longtime Weld County District Attorney said through an aide that he’s only now learned of the device.

“Rep. Buck hadn’t heard of bump stocks until this week and is still reviewing the issue,” wrote Kyle Huwa, his spokesman.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, did not immediately respond to questions seeking comment.

Content originally published by the Denver Post on October 5, 2017.
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