In case you missed it, during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” this weekend, the NRA’s chief lobbyist Wayne LaPierre dodged questions about whether congressional legislation is needed to prohibit bump stocks, accessories that effectively convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns. Instead, LaPierre said that that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should review whether they are legal – even though ATF has already said bump stocks comply with existing federal law.
By proposing punting the decision to the ATF, LaPierre is signaling that the gun lobby does not want any congressional action on bump stocks.
While opposing legislation to prohibit bump stocks, LaPierre called for Congress to enact the NRA’s number one priority to gut state gun laws: “concealed carry reciprocity” legislation. In fact, it’s the third time since the Las Vegas mass shooting that the NRA has called for passage of this dangerous legislation.
“Concealed carry reciprocity” – which is overwhelmingly opposed by law enforcement – would not create a national concealed-carry standard, but would instead force each state to accept the standards of all other states, including states with much lower standards, and the twelve “permitless carry” states that allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without any permit at all. Under current law, every state determines its own standards for concealed carry, and none should be forced to allow people to carry concealed handguns with no safety training or after they have been convicted of violent crimes or domestic abuse.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week refused to say if, or when, he will schedule a vote on the NRA-backed SHARE Act, which would roll back silencer safety laws and make it easy for people with dangerous histories to buy silencers without a background check. In an editorial, USA Today called Congress’ political maneuvering “pathetic.”
If Congress is serious about taking action after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, it not only must close the loopholes in federal law that allow people to effectively convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns, with no questions asked, but lawmakers must also proactively reject legislation to roll back silencer safety laws and to gut state concealed carry laws through “concealed carry reciprocity.”