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Senate GOP blocks effort by Democrats to pass bump stock ban after Supreme Court ruling


By Clare Foran, Morgan Rimmer and Ted Barrett, CNN

(CNN) — Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill to ban bump stocks in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The bill would enact a federal ban on the sale of bump stock devices. Bump stocks allow a shooter to convert a semi-automatic rifle into a weapon that can fire at a rate of hundreds of rounds a minute. The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a federal ban on bump stocks approved by former President Donald Trump, the latest opinion from the conservative court rolling back firearm regulations.

While some Republicans support a ban on bump stocks, the issue has divided GOP senators in the aftermath of the high court ruling.

On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico made a request on the Senate floor for unanimous consent to pass the bill and Republican Sen. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska objected, calling it a “show vote.”

“As a firearms owner myself, there’s no legitimate use for a bump stock – not for self defense, not in a law enforcement context, not even in military applications … but what they are tailor made for is a mass shooting,” Heinrich said, noting that the bill he was seeking to pass has bipartisan support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke on the floor in support of a ban.

“The Senate must step into the breach and pass a federal ban on bump stocks,” Schumer said, calling it a “commonsense safety measure.”

Criticizing the bill as overreach, Ricketts said, “This bill would ban literally any item that makes a firearm easier and in some cases safer to shoot.”

“It’s not really about bump stocks, this bill is about banning as many firearm accessories as possible,” he said. “It’s an unconstitutional attack on law-abiding gun owners.”

Earlier this week, several senior Republican senators expressed a tentative openness to legislation restricting the use of bump stocks, but others argued it wasn’t a good idea.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “no,” he does not support any legislation restricting or banning bump stocks – a significant block to any potential bill.

“The court ruling was accurate,” he added.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who is running for Senate GOP leader, told reporters, “I’ve been involved in some negotiations regarding firearms, and I’d be happy to listen to what people propose.”

Asked if it is a good idea for Congress to act, he was cautious: “I need to see what they want to do.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia also didn’t rule out supporting bump stocks legislation.

“I think my understanding of the decision is the Congress has to act on this. So we’ll see if somebody brings something forward, and then I’ll look at it then,” she said.

Across the aisle, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said that he would check in with Republicans who may be interested in bump stocks legislation to see if there could be a path forward.

Murphy said it would be “difficult” to get a deal in this political climate, but he noted there are plenty of Republicans who have said bump stocks should be banned.

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