Siding with the National Rifle Association, House Speaker Ryan has called for increased regulation rather than new legislation to ban "bump stocks" like the kind the Las Vegas shooter used to make his semi-automatic rifles fire almost full-auto.
"We think the regulatory fix is the smartest quickest fix," Ryan said at his Tuesday press conference, "and frankly, I'd like to know how it happened in the first place."
That's a significant shift from last Saturday when Ryan signaled on the Hugh Hewitt show that he was open to a vote on banning the bump stock. By opting for the regulatory route, the speaker seems to be washing his hands of the issue entirely.
That's good news for the NRA who disowned the accessory after the shooting. They've asked President Trump to order the ATF to re-evaluate federal rules governing bump stocks, the idea being that regulation could be more contained and, unlike legislation, wouldn't run the risk of sweeping gun control.
As Ryan noted, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled in 2010. They made that decision because the bump stock is just an accessory and does not fall under the National Firearms Act. So while machine guns can cost upwards of $20,000, the bump stock allows shooters to go almost full-auto for as little as $99. No gunsmith and no background check required.
Ryan also seemed to adopt the current White House strategy of blaming the Obama administration. "This is a regulation that probably shouldn't have happened in the first place," the speaker said, "and we want to understand why they let this through in the first place."
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.