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Republicans and NRA, in a shift of position, say they'll consider limiting firearm 'bump stocks'

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduces legislation to ban the sale and possession of "bump stock" equipment for firearms. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduces legislation to ban the sale and possession of "bump stock" equipment for firearms. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

The Las Vegas massacre has breached Republicans' solid opposition to additional gun restrictions, prompting party leaders as well as the National Rifle Assn. to say they will consider placing limits on so-called bump stocks, devices that can turn assault rifles into virtual machine guns.

The White House signaled a willingness Thursday to consider a ban, and the NRA, which has powerful sway among Republicans, said it could back a limit on bump stocks — but as a federal regulation, not a law.

“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” the group said.

The NRA's blessing probably will increase the number of Republicans willing to back restrictions.

The statement marked a rare concession by the powerful gun-rights organization. At the same time, however, the call for regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives could provide a way to deflect pressure for congressional action — and tough votes — that might lead to broader gun restrictions.

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