AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s congressional delegation looks open to discussing a ban on “bump stocks” amid a bipartisan push after the once-obscure tool was used in the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday that killed 59 and injured more than 500.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s 1st District, is co-sponsoring a bill to ban the devices, which use the recoil of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the rate of fire and simulate fully automatic fire. Fully automatic weapons sold after 1986 are illegal in the U.S.
That is one of at least three congressional bills in the works on the topic, according to The Hill. There is also a Senate version and Republicans have said they want to ban them.
In a statement, Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he’s “encouraged” by the bipartisan talk and that it “seems sensible” that devices simulating the effect of an illegal weapon “should be restricted as well.”
Maine’s two congressional Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd District, haven’t gone that far. But Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark said her boss is “concerned” about bump stocks and believes that the issue “warrants further examination” while Poliquin is “open to learning more,” his spokesman, Brendan Conley, said.
Poliquin has twice been endorsed by the pro-gun rights National Rifle Association. Collins and King have more moderate records on guns. Both voted for a background check expansion in 2013 that failed.
David Trahan, the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a gun-rights organization that coordinates with the NRA, said on Thursday that he hadn’t discussed the bump stock issue with his board. But it doesn’t look like a typical partisan gun debate.
He said if bump stocks are used to get around the automatic weapon ban, “I certainly understand why the Congress would take a look at it.”
“I don’t think you’re going to find too many people who are going to jump out and defend these things after this happened,” Trahan said.