The powerful U.S. gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, said on Sunday it would oppose an outright ban on bump-stock devices that the killer in the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people used to turn rifles into automatic weapons and strafe a crowd with bursts of sustained gunfire.
The NRA, which has seldom embraced new firearms-control measures, stunned gun control advocates last week when it issued a statement voicing willingness to support a restriction on bump stocks. [nL2N1MH0AN]
On Sunday, the organization said it was open to regulation but opposed any legislation banning the devices.
“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything. What we have said has been very clear – that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently,” Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Police said the gunman, Stephen Paddock, 64, fitted 12 of his weapons with bump-stock devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to operate as if they were fully automatic machine guns, which are otherwise outlawed in the United States.
Cox and Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive, accused the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under Democratic former President Barack Obama of paving the way for the use of bump stocks and creating legal confusion about their usage.
Republican President Donald Trump was an outspoken advocate of gun rights during his 2016 campaign for the White House. The NRA spent more than $30 million in support of his candidacy.
NO REPUBLICAN SUPPORT
LaPierre lashed out at U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who has pushed for gun-control legislation on Capitol Hill.
“I think you want to tell ATF to do its job. It’s an interpretive issue and they need to get the job done. But not let Dianne Feinstein, which is what she wants to do – turn this all of this into some Christmas tree on the Hill where she brings all of her anti-gun circus she has been trying to do for years into this,” LaPierre said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Feinstein said she has garnered some Republican interest, but no support, for the measure. “I have nobody lined up,” she told the CBS program.
Some gun-control advocates praised the NRA for showing some flexibility.
“This is the first time that the gun lobby has shown willingness to come to the table and I think that’s in part because Americans just simply do not accept mass shooting after mass shooting happening and Congress doing absolutely nothing,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
But Sunday’s comments from the NRA representatives suggested nothing may have changed as they castigated calls for gun-control measures in the emotional aftermath of a mass shooting.
“There used to be a common decency in this country where people paused talking about policy. Unfortunately with Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg, they want to exploit a tragedy from Day One. It’s shameful, but apparently that’s the new normal.” Cox said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.
Bloomberg, a billionaire and former mayor of New York, has been an outspoken critic of the National Rifle Association through the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Investigators remain largely in the dark about what drove Paddock, a retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler, on Oct. 1 to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, Doina Chiacu, Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Howard Goller)
Dr. Fauci emotionally recounts his close relationship with the late AIDS activist Larry Kramer
Dr. Anthony Fauci has burst on to the national stage as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, but his work as a public health official extends back decades. He was a key figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and in an interview on PBS NewsHour on Wednesday, he offered a personal and emotional glimpse into that history.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Larry Kramer, a famed writer and influential AIDS activist, had died at age 84. PBS host Judy Woodroof noted that Fauci and Kramer had been friends.
"In the beginning of the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, the two of you had a pretty contentious relationship," Woodroof said. "But that changed over time."
REVEALED: An Obama-era plan to protect medical workers in a pandemic was thwarted under Trump
President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that his Democratic predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, left him ill-prepared to handle a major health crisis when, in fact, Obama’s administration left behind a comprehensive pandemic game plan that included a 69-page playbook. But Trump’s administration abandoned those Obama-era recommendations. On top of that, National Public Radio’s Brian Mann is reporting that Trump’s administration, in 2017, “stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19.”
‘Don’t be a sucker’: CNN’s Cuomo begs viewers not to let Trump’s antics distract from the horror of COVID deaths
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo warned viewers not to be taken in by President Donald Trump's distraction tactics — and instead focus on the loss of human life from the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's a sad night. I don't know any other way to put it," said Cuomo. "I don't even like that the music's playing, to be honest. It's just three months. We've lost a hundred thousand lives. Do you need band music to tell you it's something urgent?"
"We were told this pandemic would magically disappear without any real trouble. A couple dozen cases," said Cuomo. "Today, did you hear what our president, Donald John Trump, said to calm and reassure our nerves, that we will do everything we can to keep us safe as we reopen and that he will make it his life's focus because that what a president does? Did you hear him say that? Me either. Not a damn word from Trump as this country is just struggling to get our heads and our hearts, let alone our hands around processing such loss so quickly. Suddenly he is now at a loss. Not even a tweet."