Senate Republicans Block Bump Stock Ban Despite Democrats’ Push

Jimmy Williams

Senate Democrats tried to pass a bill banning bump stocks on firearms Tuesday, but a single Republican objection stalled the effort. Backed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sought “unanimous consent” to pass the BUMP Act, which aims to ban devices that modify semi-automatic weapons to fire more quickly.

Sen. Heinrich, a firearm owner, emphasized the danger of bump stocks, citing the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting where a gunman killed dozens and injured over 500 people using such a device. “There’s no legitimate use for a bump stock,” Heinrich said, adding that they are primarily designed for mass shootings.

However, Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., objected, backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators. Ricketts called the bill “a gun-grabbing overreach,” arguing it was vaguely written and could target common firearm accessories. He labeled the measure an infringement on the rights of law-abiding gun owners and criticized it as “another day in the Democrat summer of show votes.”

This legislative clash comes during an election year, with Republicans championing gun rights and Democrats pushing for stricter firearm laws. The move followed a Supreme Court decision last week that the executive branch cannot use existing law to ban bump stocks, but left the door open for Congress to regulate the accessories with new legislation.

Unanimous consent is a mechanism for speedy Senate passage of non-controversial measures. Schumer can also bring the bump stock bill up through the regular process, requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster, meaning at least 9 Republicans would need to support it if Democrats and independents stick together. Schumer urged Republicans to reconsider, noting their previous support when the Trump administration imposed a bump stock ban.

Heinrich warned that without a bump stock ban, “street gangs and cartels and mass shooters” could use these devices against communities, stressing the importance of legislative action on the issue.

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