The National Rifle Association announced on Wednesday its opposition to a new bill that would ban any firearm part that effectively increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle.
"We are opposed to the Feinstein and Curbelo legislation," Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon.
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The legislation, introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R., Fla.) and cosponsored by 10 representatives from each party, is intended to be a response to the Las Vegas shooting, where a number of the rifles found at the scene were equipped with bump fire stocks. The text of the bill goes beyond banning bump fire stocks, however. Instead, in addition to banning bump fire stocks and requiring their surrendering or confiscation, it bans and requires the surrendering or confiscation of any part that increases how quickly a semi-automatic rifle can be fired.
"It shall be unlawful for any person—in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun," the bill reads, "or to manufacture, possess, or transfer any such part or combination of parts that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.’"
The language of the bill may ban the manufacture, sale, or possession of aftermarket triggers, bolts, or other components that have any effect on increasing a rifle's rate of fire. The ban would go into effect 90 days after the enactment of the bill into law.
"For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats," Curbelo said in a statement. "This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights."
Curbelo's colleague, Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.), said Congress could do more on the issue, but the bill represents a "crucial starting point."
"I am proud to be leading on the only bipartisan effort to take action in the wake of this tragedy," Rep. Moulton said in a statement. "We can always be doing more, but this bill is a crucial starting point. Congress needs to take a serious look, after every crisis, at whether a law consistent with the Second Amendment would have prevented it. It is time for Democrats and Republicans alike to find the courage to act."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who has introduced bills with similar wording in previous years, said calls from the NRA and others for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to reexamine the legality of bump fire stocks were not enough.
"The ATF lacks authority under the law to ban bump fire stocks," Feinstein said. "Period. The agency made this crystal clear in a 2013 letter to Congress, writing that ‘stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes.' Legislation is the only answer and Congress shouldn't attempt to pass the buck."
The ATF has explained its classification process for firearms and firearms accessories but has not yet said whether they will review their decision on bump fire stocks.