U.S. Sen Rand Paul, who admits that he’s more aware of his surroundings after being shot at during a congressional baseball team practice in June, said Friday he expects Congress to debate banning a gun part that turns semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons with more firepower.
Paul, though, said he wasn’t familiar with bump stocks and stopped short of giving his opinion on whether they should be banned. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock appeared to use them to modify several weapons, allowing him to fire rounds more quickly as he killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 before taking his own life.
Paul, after a closed-door meeting in Lexington with Kentucky Coal Association president Tyler White and other coal industry leaders, was peppered with questions from reporters about gun control.
The Bowling Green Republican suggested that a ban on bump stocks could come from regulations instead of legislation. He said the National Rifle Association is looking at that possibility.
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The NRA said this week that it supports a review of bump stocks to see whether they are in accordance with federal law, which restricts automatic weapons.
“I’m open to learning more about the issue. I don’t know that much about it,” he said.
Paul, who has said the shooting last June in Virginia could have been a “massacre” if Capitol police hadn’t been present, said there is “no easy answer” to curb gun violence.
For months after the shooting, “if you were behind me and you made a loud noise, I was very aware you were there,” Paul said. “I’m a little more conscious of my surroundings now, not to be paranoid. We hope it doesn’t get worse where everybody walking is looking behind them. It is harder for people now.”
Paul said action should be taken to curb gun violence, but the issue is complex and is partly “a spiritual problem” that requires help from religious leaders, teachers and families.
“Is there a way to make man peaceful? Is there a way to make us all perfectable, and there probably isn’t,” Paul said. “But, at the same time, there are some reasonable things we can look at and I think there is going to be a great deal of discussion over whether or not we should have something that allows something that is legal to become illegal.”