A little-known device called a
A little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Las Vegas massacre: Gun lobby's surprise response

In its first statement since the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has called for additional regulations on "bump stocks" - the devices that likely allowed the Las Vegas gunman to fire faster, killing more people.

"The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulation," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Executive Director Chris Cox said in a statement.

Bump stocks can effectively change semi-automatic weapons into fully automatics by utilising the weapon's recoil effect. Some allow semi-automatic guns to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute.

The devices were approved by the Obama administration's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2010, but the NRA is now asking for that decision to be reviewed.

"The National Rifle Association is calling on the [ATF] to review whether these devices comply with federal law," Mr La Pierre and Mr Cox said.

The statement is out of character for the NRA, which is considered the country's most powerful gun lobbying group. The group usually maintains a low profile in the wake of mass shootings, as it had in the days following the Las Vegas massacre.

President Donald Trump had been similarly silent on gun control in recent days, telling reporters he would "talk about that on a later date".

But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that she welcomed the NRA's latest statement, adding that the administration is "certainly open to having that conversation."

The Las Vegas shooting - the deadliest in modern US history - appears to have shifted the opinion of some pro-gun Republicans, too.

"I own a lot of guns and as a hunter and sportsman. I think that's our right as Americans, but I don't understand the use of this bump stock and that's another reason to have a hearing," Senator John Cornyn, the No 2 Republican in the Senate, told reporters.

Republican Representatives Paul Ryan, Robert Goodlatte, Carlos Curbelo, Mark Meadows and Bill Flores have all called for investigations into the devices, too.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, a long-time gun control advocate, has already introduced a bill banning the sale and possession of bump stocks.

But the NRA has not gone so far as to ally themselves with pro-gun-control politicians.

"Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control," Mr La Pierre and Mr Cox said, adding: "Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks."

News Corp Australia

Retailer dives in to help homeless

Retailer dives in to help homeless

Retailers cook up a warm brekky for homeless

Seasonal pinch point arrives

Seasonal pinch point arrives

Mid-winter accommodation slow down is here

Lyon ready to run in Richmond

Lyon ready to run in Richmond

Byron Councillor runs for Federal politics.

Local Partners