Senators ask Congress for ban on bump stocks, following Las Vegas massacre

Some senators say a ban could save lives, while other say bump stocks can be easily made at home

A little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in South Jordan, Utah. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns within the last year, but that didn't raise any red flags. Neither did the mountains of ammunition he was stockpiling, or the bump stocks found in his hotel room that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic fully automatic weapons. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in South Jordan, Utah. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock bought 33 guns within the last year, but that didn't raise any red flags. Neither did the mountains of ammunition he was stockpiling, or the bump stocks found in his hotel room that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic fully automatic weapons. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Bump stocks modify semi-automatic guns so they fire like automatic weapons. They were used in the Las Vegas shooting earlier this fall in which 58 people were killed.

Wednesday, a Senate committee held a hearing about banning the devices.

Heather Gooze was working at the music festival in Las Vegas when the shooting occurred and said she stayed to help the shooting victims rather than run. She testified that bump stocks have no place in our society.

“I may have stayed because I hoped someone would do the same for me,” she said. “I did it because I wouldn’t want to be forgotten, but the truth is, none of us want to be forgotten, and I ask that the committee not forget all of the lives that were lost that day — all of the lives affected that day and all of the lives that could be affected in the future.”

Nevada senator Catherine Cortez Masto also urged her fellow senators to move forward with legislation she said the majority of Americans want.

“You are in a unique position to take the first steps to end these senseless massacres,” she said.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein authored the bill. About half of the shooting victims were from her state.

“Machine guns and guns with automatic fire are already banned under federal law, bump stocks are not,” she said.

Republican senators want the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to regulate bump stocks, rather than Congress passing a new law to ban them. Some lawmakers said a new law would not be effective.

“Bump stocks are not complicated … it could be a piece of plastic, so bump stocks could be made by a 3D printer in somebody’s garage,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa.

The ATF is reviewing the law to see if it has the authority to regulate bump stocks. The process could take months.

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