Two Kansas congressional Republicans who are strong advocates of gun rights said Thursday that they'd support a federal ban on devices that can modify semi-automatic weapons to shoot like automatic weapons.
Reps. Kevin Yoder and Lynn Jenkins issued statements supporting restrictions on "bump stocks" after the gunman reportedly used the device in Sunday's attack in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and wounded about 500 more. The idea is gaining traction in Congress, with several Republicans either supporting it or suggesting it should be discussed after the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
Yoder, of Overland Park, said the details of the Las Vegas shooting make it "evident that action must be taken with regard to devices that modify semi-automatic weapons like bump stocks."
"Right now we have strict regulations on automatic weapons, but these devices allow an individual to easily convert legal firearms into an automatic weapon. That should not be the case, and that's why I will support measures to regulate or ban these types of devices," he said.
Jenkins said in her statement that she also wants to restrict the devices.
"While I'm a strong supporter of our Second Amendment, when you can modify a legal semi-automatic rifle and make it function like an illegal fully automatic rifle — something isn't right," she said. "I believe we should close the regulatory loophole that allows bump stocks and other devices like it."
Yoder's support for the ban is significant because Kansas has some of the loosest gun laws in the country. He also received $4,000 from the National Rifle Association in 2016 and more than $16,000 from the organization since the start of his congressional career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Jenkins received $2,000 from the NRA in 2016. Both hold A ratings from the organization and were endorsed by the NRA in the last election, The Wichita Eagle reported .
Yoder is widely expected to seek re-election next year in what is likely to be a competitive House race in a district that Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016. Jenkins has said she won't run again.
The Kansas affiliate of the NRA criticized the effort to restrict gun accessories.
"Accessory bans won't save a single life. Criminals will always find ways to commit violence. Prohibiting law-abiding gun owners from owning a piece of plastic won't stop violent criminals," Moriah Day, the executive director of the Kansas State Rifle Association, said in an email.
Rep. Roger Marshall, who represents western Kansas, said in an email that he believes current law already gives the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the authority needed to regulate bump stocks.