On Thursday, the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced in a statement that it supports "additional regulations" on so-called "bump stocks," the device used by Stephen Paddock to shoot over 500 people in a matter of minutes in Las Vegas on Sunday.
On Wednesday, California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to ban bump fire stocks, devices which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Multiple Republicans leaders immediately signaled that they are open to such a ban despite fears of the "slippery slope" in gun control legislation.
In a surprise move on Thursday, the nation's largest gun lobbying group came out in support of stronger regulations on bump stocks, suggesting that devices that effectively serve as a means of getting around the fully-automatic rifle ban should not be allowed.
"In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented," begins the joint statement by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox. "Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world."
Though gun control is not the answer, LaPierre and Cox agreed that devices used to make semiautomatic weapons fully-automatic "should be subject to additional regulations." In their argument, they underscored that the Obama administration had twice approved such devices.
"In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved," they continued. "Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
The NRA leaders conclude the statement by reiterating their commitment to "strengthening Americans' Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves" and calling for Congress to pass national right-to-carry reciprocity legislation.
"In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans' Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities," the statement concludes. "To that end, on behalf of the five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence."
The NRA's support of the bump stocks legislation comes as a bit of a surprise in part because the group listed SlideFire, a bump stocks manufacturer, as an exhibitor at its annual convention in Atlanta in April. The NRA remained largely silent on Wednesday after initial announcement of the bump stocks legislation, but broke the silence on Thursday in its public statement.
When authorities searched the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, they found dozens of guns, hundreds of rounds, and multiple bump stocks, which he used during his horrific shooting spree, which left 58 dead and nearly 500 wounded.