No law could have thwarted last week’s massacre in Las Vegas, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a longtime advocate of stricter gun laws and author of the 1993 ban on assault weapons, said the shooter, Stephen Paddock, legally acquired the arsenal he used to carry out the attack. Asked by CBS's “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson whether any law could have stopped him, Feinstein said, “No. He passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions.”
But Feinstein is pressing for a ban on “bump stocks,” devices that allow semiautomatic rifles to fire nearly as rapidly as a fully automatic weapon. She said she has 38 co-sponsors, all Democrats, though the idea has attracted “Republican interest.”
Feinstein said she appreciates the National Rifle Association's call for a regulatory review of bump stocks but said such a move would be insufficient. “Regulations aren’t going to do it. We need a law,” she said. “It can’t be changed by another president. Right now we’re seeing one president change actions of a president that came before him. And that would happen in this area. And I would hope that Americans will step up and say ‘Enough is enough. Congress, do something.’ ”
For gun rights advocates nervous that her bill will lead to a ban on semiautomatic weapons, Feinstein said, “That’s just plain wrong. This is written in clean English. You can take a look at it. It’s a two-page bill. I’ll send a copy of it to anyone who calls our office and you can look at it yourself. It does not take anyone’s gun.”