Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo said Wednesday he would back a ban on “bump stocks,” the devices the Las Vegas gunman used to get some of his semiautomatic weapons to fire almost as quickly as even more deadly automatic weapons.
“I definitely think we need to revisit the issue of gun safety,” Curbelo told Miami’s NPR affiliate, WLRN. “A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’”
Curbelo is one of several Republican lawmakers who have signaled since Sunday night’s massacre that they would be open to some sort of gun-control legislation. Gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 people attending a country music festival, shooting them from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino Resort.
Visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called Paddock, whose motive is still unknown, “a very sick man, demented.”
“At some point perhaps that will come,” Trump said Tuesday about the mass shooting renewing a public-policy debate on gun control.
Curbelo’s spokeswoman, Joanna Rodriguez, said Thursday the congressman is working on bipartisan legislation to ban bump stocks that he hopes to file this week.
“People aren’t supposed to have automatic weapons under the law,” Curbelo said, adding that bump stocks present “a blatant circumvention of the law.” “I believe this presents an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to finally come together to build consensus around common-sense gun policies.”
Last year, Curbelo filed a version of so-called no-fly, no-buy legislation to keep guns out of the hands of people banned from flying, but it went nowhere. The Las Vegas shootings have renewed gun conversations on Capitol Hill, at least privately, according to the sophomore congressman.
“Right now the best candidate for a common denominator is to focus on these bump stock devices, which are so deadly and so potent,” Curbelo said.
On Wednesday, Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson sponsored legislation with California Democratic Sen.Dianne Feinstein banning bump stocks — a proposal that faces long odds in the GOP-controlled Senate.
“I’m a hunter and have owned guns my whole life,” Nelson said in a statement. “But these automatic weapons are not for hunting, they are for killing. And this commonsense bill would, at the very least, make it harder for someone to convert a semi-automatic rifle into what is essentially a fully automatic machine gun.”