Two Texas Republicans in Congress open door to "bump stock" ban

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores said he supports a federal ban on a type of gun attachment used by the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said hearings on the devices are warranted.

U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, in his House office in Washington, D.C. Chris Maddaloni

Two Texas Republicans in Congress – Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Bill Flores – expressed interest Wednesday in exploring a federal ban on a type of gun attachment used by the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Flores, R-Bryan, said he supports a federal ban on "bump stocks," which Stephen Paddock used to make rifles shoot more like automatic firearms, The Hill reported Wednesday.

“Based on the videos I heard and saw, and now that I’ve studied up on what a bump stock is — I didn’t know there was such a thing — there’s no reason for it,” Flores told The Hill.

Flores, a gun owner, described himself in a Wednesday statement to The Texas Tribune as a "staunch supporter and defender of the Second Amendment." Still, he added the shooting in Las Vegas "prompts a congressional review of bump stocks and similar devices."  

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Cornyn said in a call with reporters that the devices' role in the Las Vegas attack bears looking into, but he stopped short of calling for a full ban. Cornyn said he had spoken with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about holding a hearing on bump stocks and "any other aspect of this terrible crime that we need to look at from a federal perspective" once the initial investigation is complete.

Still, Cornyn reaffirmed his support for gun ownership by "law abiding citizens who have no criminal record and no mental impairment." He added that he would support passing a law that would "somehow" prevent a similar attack, but "given the fact that this man had no criminal record and was unknown to law enforcement previously and was willing to commit suicide rather than be apprehended, it's hard to figure out what kind of law we could pass."

"I don't think this should be politicized and viewed as an opportunity to try to limit the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens," Cornyn said. "And unfortunately, that seems to be the first thing that happens."

Paddock killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 Sunday in one of the worst mass shootings in recent U.S. history.