The National Rifle Association, which spearheads America’s powerful gun lobby that has blocked all attempts to tighten gun laws for decades, has relented in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre and asked the government to review the sale of devices that allow weapons to shoot rapidly.
NRA’s announcement came a day after many Republican lawmakers joined their Democratic colleagues to call for a ban on “bump-stock” devices that allow non-automatic firearms to function like automatics. Some Republicans also conceded, in an equally significant shift for them, that there is a need to take a look at the devices and consider regulating them.
It was a big step for the NRA, which has successfully blocked any attempt to change the country’s infamously slack gun laws and that many believe are at the root of mass shootings (any incident in which four or more people are shot, dead or wounded). There have been 343 mass shooting this year, including six since the killing of 59 people in Las Vegas on October 1.
The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” the NRA said in a statement, which was greeted around the US as a small but significant shift in the powerful organisation’s position on gun reforms. Bump-stocks replace the standard wooden stock of a rifle on which a shooter rests a shoulder at the time of firing. Instead of absorbing the recoil, the bump-stock lets the rifle fire more rapidly than it was designed to, turning it into an automatic weapon, which is subject to stricter regulations.