Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday, in his most direct comments on a potential bump stock ban, that he thinks a regulatory fix is the best approach.
“We think the regulatory fix is the smartest, quickest fix,” the Wisconsin Republican said at a news conference.
The speaker’s comment, coming a day after a bipartisan group of 20 members led by Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fl., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., introduced legislation to ban bump stocks, indicates the House will not vote on the matter.
Bump stocks are a device that the Las Vegas gunman used to enhance his semi-automatic rifles to fire at a rate resembling a fully automatic weapon.
Watch: Ryan Wonders How Bump Stocks Got Through Regulatory Process
Many lawmakers had not heard of bump stocks until the Las Vegas shooting and once they learned about them were confused about why they don’t fall under a longstanding federal law banning automatic weapons.
“We are still trying to assess why the ATF let this go through in the first place, so what happened on the regulatory side to allow this to occur,” Ryan said, referring to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates firearms and interprets the meaning of gun control laws Congress passes.
The speaker had suggested in comments on Thursday that lawmakers would likely defer to ATF to use existing law to ban bump stocks rather than pass a new law.
“We need to look at how we can tighten up the compliance with this law so that fully automatic weapons are banned,” Ryan said last week.
The speaker’s preference seems to be in line with that of the National Rifle Association, which issued a statement Thursday saying it believes bump stocks should be subject to additional regulations and calling on ATF to review whether the devices comply with the law.