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California in Congress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose daughter almost went to Vegas concert, proposes ban of 'bump stock' gun modifications

 (Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)
(Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday proposed legislation that would ban gun bump stocks, which police said were used by a Las Vegas shooter this week to make semi-automatic weapons work more like automatic weapons.

"The only reason to modify a gun is to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible," Feinstein told reporters Wednesday.

Fifty-nine people were killed and more than 500 were injured after a man opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Bump stocks, slide-fire devices and other accessories can accelerate a semi-automatic rifle's rate of fire from 45 to 60 rounds per minute to 400 to 800 rounds per minute, according to Feinstein's office. (See how they work in this video.)

Feinstein, the original author of the nation's assault weapons ban, called the existence of bump stocks a loophole.

California Sen. Kamala Harris and 25 other Senate Democrats joined Feinstein on the bill. Feinstein said she hasn't reached out to her Republican colleagues yet. Many Republicans said after the shooting that it wasn't the right time to talk about gun laws.

"It’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.

Several prominent Republicans appear open to the idea of banning the modifiers. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told Bloomberg on Wednesday that Congress should hold hearings on whether to ban bump stocks, and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of the powerful House Freedom Caucus told reporters that if the modification goes around limits on automatic weapons, it's "something that we obviously need to look at in the future."

Feinstein said she has been glued to the television since the shooting and she thinks it's time for Congress to act.

"Some have said we shouldn't do this, we should wait, now is not the time. When is the time going to be?" Feinstein said. "There is no better way to honor the 59 people that were slaughtered than to take action to prevent this from happening yet again. If not, when will we ever do it?"

Feinstein also revealed that her daughter nearly attended the music festival and had planned to stay at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where the shooter perched as he shot into the crowd.

"I just thank God. ... It's one of those misses in life, could have happened to any one of us," she said.

11:37: This article was updated with reaction from Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Mark Meadows.

It was originally published at 10:14 a.m.

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