Debate over legality of bump stocks rages after Las Vegas shooting

Debate rises over proposed bump stock ban

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban bump stocks, the tool investigators said gunman Stephen Paddock used to make his weapons fire like machine guns.

Bump stocks are currently legal in the U.S., though some in the gun industry questioned their intended use.

“Some people really enjoy watching a lot of bullets fly,” said Warren Lacasse. “It's not my cup of tea…I like to learn how to put them accurately in one spot.”

Lacasse owns The Gun Room in Southeast Portland, and no longer sells bump stocks. The device enables many semi-automatic weapons to fire like a near-fully automatic one using the gun's natural recoil to make it fire faster.

“Let's just say this, it's a legal loophole,” said Lacasse describing bump stocks. “Somebody figured out a way to make a stock that would slide back and forth on its own.”

Investigators said Paddock used bump stocks to convert more than a dozen rifles into rapid fire weapons. He then shot more than 500 people, killing 58 of them.

More: Vegas shooter modified guns for rapid fire, used cameras to monitor police

"Are these things that we want sold over internet?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) asked. “So no matter who could easily change a weapon bought legally into a weapon that would be totally illegal?”

On Wednesday, Feinstein introduced a bill that would ban the manufacture and sale of bump stocks. She also shared that her own daughter was set to attend the country music festival in Las Vegas, but didn't. Feinstein said she was reaching out to Republicans, and the president, for support.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) supported the bill among others who spoke Wednesday, calling the Las Vegas shooting a ‘wake up call’ to Congress.

"That [gun] firing ought to be echoing in our minds as we consider whether a bump stock device should be permitted to be sold lawfully,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). "It's the least we can do, it's not the most we should do."

While Lacasse doesn’t sell bump stocks, he said he didn’t support efforts to ban them.

“When you try to legislate morality, it just flat doesn't work,” said Lacasse. “I think the moment you outlaw bump stocks, people are going to go out and make them. They're real easy to do.”

Lacasse said he believes evil people, not the weapons they use, are at the root of the problem.

“If you want to do nasty things,” said Lacasse. “You can do nasty things.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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