Momentum for gun control saw a brief sign of life after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history last month, with Republicans joining Democrats in weighing restrictions to “bump stocks.” The GOP-controlled Congress hasn’t pushed forward any bills, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has yet to curb the gun accessory that authorities say was used to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas. After the mass shooting at a rural Texas church on Sunday, proposals to restrict firearms appeared no likelier to advance on Capitol Hill, Politico reports. Senior Republicans said that it wasn’t clear what lawmakers could do in response to the latest tragedy.
“Do you pass more laws when the laws that are on the books were likely violated? And would that have made a difference?” asked Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX). “I think those are all going to be questions we need to ask ourselves, but I think right now, the fog of this event is not yet lifted and we need to know the answers before we know how to act.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) plans to hold a hearing soon with ATF officials on bump stocks. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said that the use of bump stocks in Las Vegas is “extremely concerning” and he was committed to examining regulations over the device “to see if they need improving.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “You know, it’s hard to envision a foolproof way to prevent individual outrages by evil people … Last week in New York, you had a person who figured out he could kill people by driving his automobile up on the sidewalk. It’s a very, very challenging thing.”