Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are open to legislation that could ban “bump stock” devices that investigators said could have helped the Las Vegas gunman kill dozens of people and injure hundreds more in the nation’s worst mass shooting.
The two both said they would be receptive to legislation that forbids the devices, which are designed to accelerate the rate of fire for semi-automatic weapons. Investigators found 12 rifles equipped with bump stocks in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room after shootings that killed 58 people.
Isakson said Tuesday he’s signed a letter urging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review whether the devices comply with federal law. The National Rifle Association, which typically fights new restrictions on gun ownership, also called for a similar review.
“I didn’t know what a bump stock was. I still wouldn’t know one if I saw it now. But I know what it can do,” said Isakson. “Some say ATF has the ability under the law to take it off the market. ATF needs to tell us what it can do, then we need to tell it what it needs to do.”
Perdue sounded a similar note last week in Washington.
“You can’t buy a chain-fed machine gun in the United States today. There’s a reason for that,” Perdue told Politico. “I’d want to make sure that nobody had access to that, if that’s the law of the land.”
They are among a range of GOP lawmakers who have signaled a willingness to tighten regulations on the device, though any measure imposing a ban would still face a tough fight. There is still no consensus in Congress on whether to move forward with the restriction, and some lawmakers remain adamantly opposed to the proposal.