Republican senator blocks passage of bill banning bump stocks

Nebraska's Republican Sen. Pete Ricketts objected to a vote on the legislation, which kills the bill for the moment.
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jun 18, 2024

Republican senators on Tuesday blocked a bill that would have banned bump stocks, the gun add-ons that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire at a much higher rate with a single pull of the trigger.

In Senate proceedings on Tuesday, New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich, who sponsored the bill, asked that it be voted on by unanimous consent. Unanimous consent allows a bill to skip the full legislative process, as long as no lawmakers object.

But Nebraska's Republican Sen. Pete Ricketts objected to its passage, which kills the bill for the moment.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Ricketts said the effort to pass the bill was "another day in the Democrat summer of show votes." Ricketts said the legislation "is about banning as many firearm accessories as possible."

Democratic Senators, later joined by Maine's Republican Sen. Susan Collins, introduced the bill after a federal court of appeals said early this year that Congress would have to legislate the legality of bump stocks.

"Bump stocks exist to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time," said Sen. Heinrich. "There’s no good reason any person should have them in their possession. It’s past time we ban these deadly devices for good."

Days after the bill was introduced, on June 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Trump-era ban on bump stocks as unconstitutional.

Following the decision, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a ban.

"I call on Congress to ban bump stocks, pass an assault weapon ban, and take additional action to save lives — send me a bill and I will sign it immediately," he said.

Legislation to subject bump stocks to additional regulation is also under consideration in the House of Representatives.

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Supreme Court strikes down federal ban on bump stocks