In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I am once again calling on my colleagues in Congress to act to prevent future gun violence and mass shootings.
The Las Vegas shooting was so deadly because of a device known as a bump stock which significantly increases the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons. Machine guns and fully automatic weapons have been banned for decades and any device that makes a semi-automatic weapon into a military-grade weapon should be outlawed.
In March 2013, I sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) asking the agency to ban any gun product which allows for semiautomatic assault rifles to function as fully automatic. In April 2013, ATF sent a response stating that they do not “have the authority to restrict their [bump-fire stocks] lawful possession, use or transfer.”
I sent a letter to Speaker Ryan this week to make him aware of my 2013 exchange with the ATF and to urge him to bring legislation banning bump stocks to the floor of the House for a vote. Two separate pieces of legislation have been introduced that would ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of bump stocks or other devices that accelerate the rate of fire for semi-automatic rifles, both of which I support.
We cannot leave it to the ATF to make a regulatory fix when the agency does not believe they have the authority to do so. Congress needs to act to make the law crystal clear and ban these dangerous products once and for all.