WASHINGTON — Over several hours on Wednesday afternoon, something quite unusual happened on Capitol Hill: A small gun-control measure began to pick up public interest from a half-dozen or so congressional Republicans.
After Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas that resulted in the deaths of 59 people and wounded well over 500, many in the political arena were focusing on a legal firearm enhancement known as a "bump" or "bumper stock" that the shooter used to essentially convert multiple guns into automatic weapons.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, was one of the first Republicans to call for a bump stock ban on Wednesday afternoon. Minutes later, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn chimed in, saying he wants Congress to look into the attachments.
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The Texas Tribune spent the week checking in with the other 36 members of the delegation. Initially, only 10 of the 38 members responded to our request — but the story was updated as several more responses came in.
Most of the statements were carefully worded to avoid jumping to conclusions as the investigation in Las Vegas continues. But federal lawmakers may not be able to stay on the fence for long because Republicans elsewhere around the country said they would soon push Congress to address bump stocks.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams was the first Republican to say outright he would not support a bump stock ban, while most Democrats who responded said they would eagerly support one.
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas took a middle path in her answer: While she decried the level of gun violence in the country and expressed a desire to "get at the motives driving these individuals toward violence," Johnson said she was "not so sure that a ban on bumper stocks would have done anything to prevent the incident in Las Vegas."
Matthew Inwoo Choi contributed to this report.