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In the wake of Vegas the NRA is backing a call for a curb on assault weapons

The powerful gun lobby organisation has made what is, for it, something of a seismic step-down.

shutterstock_728628958 A machine gun with a silencer bump stock Source: Shutterstock/Guy Midkiff

POWERFUL US GUN lobbyists the NRA says that “additional regulations” should be imposed on devices used to convert the Las Vegas shooter’s rifles into rapid-fire weapons, breaking with its usual outright opposition to gun control efforts.

The National Rifle Association has called on US authorities to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law”, NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox said in a statement.

The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.

The statement could be seen as a key shift by the powerful pro-gun group, which has vehemently opposed any efforts at gun control.

The White House also announced it was ‘open’ to congressional debate about the so-called bump stocks, spring-loaded devices which keep the weapon firing using its own recoil, shooting hundreds of rounds per minute.

“Members of both parties and multiple organisations are planning to take a look at bump stocks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

We welcome that and would like to be part of that conversation.

NRA Convention - Atlanta NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, speaking in Atlanta, Georgia, in April Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS/ABACA/PA Images

The announcements could give cover to republican lawmakers, many of whom receive campaign finance support from the hugely influential gun lobby, to back current legislation that would ban the sale or possession of such devices.

“It opens up opportunities,” senate republican John Cornyn said.

Cornyn, the chamber’s number two republican, also said he asked Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley to hold a hearing on bump stocks, and that Grassley ‘seemed amenable’ to the idea.

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Several republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have said they support looking into the issue, with some saying they could back efforts to restrict or ban the devices.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the bump stock “defies the spirit of the law against automatic weapons”.

Despite its rare endorsement of a gun device restriction, the NRA insisted in its statement that its goal firmly remained the protection and strengthening of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

“Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks,” LaPierre and Cox said.

© – AFP, 2017

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