Senior Republicans in Congress – who have long resisted any gun controls – have indicated they are open to banning the device that may have enabled the Las Vegas gunman to turn a mass shooting into a massacre.
Police say they found so-called “bump-stocks” in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room: legal but controversial accessories that increase the rate of fire, effectively transforming a rifle into a fully automatic weapon.
Even some politicians who support gun ownership say Congress may need to act on these conversion kits.
“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,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. “It seems like it’s an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it’s something Congress needs to act on.”
Such modifications were found on several of the 23 guns discovered in the gunman’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. It’s thought the bump-stocks made the Las Vegas gunman even more lethal: analysis has shown he was able to fire dozens of rounds in a few seconds. Paddock shot more than 500 people in a ten-minute spree, killing 58.
Democratic calls for gun control were led by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, seriously wounded in an assassination attempt six years ago.