A quick look at the statistics shows that six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings on record in the US have occurred in the last decade, the top two less than 18 months apart, yet Republicans have generally been opposed to almost any form of gun control. However, that appears to be changing in the aftermath of yet another tragedy.
Democrats, spearheaded by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, have proposed a ban on an accessory known as a ‘bump stock,’ which uses the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire several hundred shots per minute without compromising on accuracy, something that really isn’t necessary for even the most avid outdoorsman, and a device that few lawmakers had even heard of before Monday.
The most surprising part of this proposal is that it is gaining support from Republicans across the board and it’s the first time Republicans have even considered discussing any form of gun control since 2012, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children aged between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Republican support for the proposal, however, is a small victory along the long and bumpy road to becoming legislation. Not only will the measure need to be approved by Republicans on Capitol Hill, it will also need the backing of President Trump, whose campaign last year was heavily endorsed by the infinitely powerful National Rifle Association (NRA).
All the same, it is an excellent start when a Congressman from Texas is the first Republican to support the ban on bump stocks. That Congressman is Bill Flores.
“I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic,” Flores, a gun owner, said in an interview just off the House floor. “Based on the videos I heard and saw, and now that I’ve studied up on what a bump stock is — I didn’t know there was such a thing — there’s no reason for it,” he added. “I have no problem from banning myself from owning it.”
Other House Republican moderates that agree with Flores include Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello from Pennsylvania, Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Pete King from New York.
“I’m ready to say that they should not be in public use. I think they are a problem. I support a ban on bump stocks. I don’t see any purpose for them,” Dent said. “The law is clear to me that automatic weapons are banned in this country, as they should be.”
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