Republicans May Actually Vote To Ban Device Used By Las Vegas Gunman

UNITED STATES - APRIL 4: Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, whispers to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as Senate Republican leaders hold their media availability focusing on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as associate justice of the Supreme Court following their policy lunch on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In an interview with PBS Newshour, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke of a tipping point when it comes to sensible gun safety laws. It appears some of his Republican colleagues may have reached that point.

For decades, Republicans in Congress took a hands off approach to all gun legislation. As massacres of innocents mounted with ever more deadly weapons, they were not swayed.

After the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 killed 32 people, they blocked limiting the size of ammunition magazines. After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults, Republican leaders blocked bipartisan legislation to expand background checks.

Last year after 49 people were murdered at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, they blocked legislation to stop gun sales to buyers on terrorism watch lists. Critics cite contributions to Republicans from the National Rifle Association as the root cause.

But after Sunday's slaughter of 58 people in Las Vegas, Republicans may finally find the one gun industry product they're willing to negotiate legislation on: bump stocks. These gun conversion kits, legal to purchase in the Las Vegas gunman's home state, turn semiautomatic weapons into weapons capable of firing in long, deadly bursts.

On Wednesday, Texas Senator John Cornyn, the 2nd highest ranking Republican in the Senate, stated he asked Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Judiciary Committee chairman, to convene a hearing on bump stocks and any other issues from the ongoing Las Vegas investigation.

I own a lot of guns, and as a hunter and sportsman, I think that’s our right as Americans, but I don’t understand the use of this bump stock. It seems like it’s an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it’s something Congress needs to act on.”

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, among others, said they would entertain legislation on bump stocks.

“We certainly want to learn more details on what occurred in Las Vegas,” Mr. Rubio said, “and if there are vulnerabilities in federal law that we should be addressing to prevent such attacks in the future, we would always be open to that.”

Representative Carlos Curbelo, House Republican from Florida, announced drafting of bipartisan legislation banning the conversion kits. Head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, Representative Mark Meadows, also said he would consider a bill. Bill Flores, Representative for Texas, called for an outright ban.

I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semiautomatic to something that behaves like an automatic.”

However none of the pronouncements guarantee action. The NRA, with tens of millions of dollars contributed to Republican campaigns, remains mum on the bump stock discussion. Their Twitter account has not posted since September 29.

Erich Pratt, executive director of another gun rights group, Gun Owners of America, promised to block any legislation. Will the NRA mirror their stance and will Republicans finally stand their ground on gun control legislation if they do?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It took a global pandemic and a national health crisis for the White House to temporarily restore daily press briefings after more than a year.

The purpose of the briefings is to update the public on the virus's spread and which potentially lifesaving measures are necessary for Americans to take in order to keep themselves and their families safe.

Keep reading... Show less
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images; Samuel Corum/Getty Images

With Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) officially suspending his campaign on Wednesday, all signs are pointing to a showdown between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in November.

The pair's differing stances on how to curb the global pandemic that's resulted in a national health crisis in the United States are already highlighting just how much more effective—and levelheaded—a Biden presidency would be.

Keep reading... Show less
Walter McBride/Getty Images // Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's hatred of the late Republican Senator from Arizona, John McCain, was widely known even before McCain cast the decisive vote that saved the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

That hatred has only worsened since that vote, with Trump initially refusing to lower flags at half staff to honor him and even implying that McCain is in Hell.

Keep reading... Show less
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Pastor and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. came under fire late last month when he ordered faculty to return to the university and gave students the option to return, despite the mounting health crisis in the United States.

Surely enough, it wasn't long before students began falling ill.

Keep reading... Show less
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway may be one of President Donald Trump's most vocal defenders, but her husband—Republican lawyer George Conway—is decidedly not.

After months of speaking out against Trump on Twitter, Conway and three other prominent Republican strategists formed Project Lincoln late last year.

Keep reading... Show less

The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for providing guidance regarding international public health, so people around the world are looking to the WHO during this global pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less