The Note: Bump stocks could be breakthrough on bipartisan gun legislation

THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein

Something unexpected happened in the wake of “thoughts and prayers” and “now is not the time.” Influential Republican lawmakers are reacting to Las Vegas by saying they might consider banning so-called “bump stocks,” which the gunman used to make his weapons all-but automatic. “It seems like it’s an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it’s something Congress needs to act on,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas. “I think they should be banned,” said another Texas Republican, Rep. Bill Flores. Before anyone cheers the sudden outbreak of bipartisanship, know that there’s talk of banning them administratively, rather than legally. Some lawmakers are even casually mentioning that the Obama administration’s ATF decided not to regulate their purchase back in 2010. But this still qualifies as progress in the calcified gun debate, and it’s happening amid the silence and presumed opposition of the NRA. (A different group, Gun Owners of America, is vowing to oppose any new restrictions.) It’s also happening in the context of new laws and gun restrictions in the states, where the NRA has – relatively quietly – been suffering defeats alongside scattered progress for its agenda. The two biggest NRA priorities for the year – expanded access to silencers, and “concealed carry reciprocity” – appear stalled for the foreseeable future. It just might be that the gun lobby can be defeated, even if only under narrow circumstances.

TRUMP CAN’T KEEP DODGING GUN CONTROL QUESTIONS

At some point, President Trump will have to talk about gun safety. He may say he does not support a ban on the bump stock devices used by the Las Vegas gunman, and that he does not believe it would have changed what happened. He may break his silence in support of the silencer bill the House shelved this week that would have made it easier for gun enthusiasts – people like his son – to buy accessories that muffle the noise of firearms. Or perhaps he and his team will say he is in fact open to working across the aisle. Either way, as he arrives back in Washington, the president inevitably will have to answer the question he avoided yesterday: “Does the country have a gun violence problem?” Democrats are of course asking it, and members of his own party are, too. If Republican senators hold a hearing on the Las Vegas shooting, and if a bipartisan bill on bump stock gets dropped in the House, the questions will not stop, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks writes.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • “He’s smart,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said of the president, adding, “I have never considered leaving this post.” Tillerson made these remarks after NBC reported that he called Trump a “moron” and was on the verge of quitting last July.
  • Republicans are open to holding hearings on bump stocks after Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a new bill to ban the firearms accessory that essentially turns a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic one.
  • The president meets with Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., today as he weighs whether to decertify the Iran nuclear deal by Oct. 15.
  • “Issue of collusion” = TBD: The Senate Intelligence Committee announced it will continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses in its probe into Russian interference.
  • WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders holds a briefing at 2 p.m.

    Charles Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, will be doing a live Q&A today at Catholic University’s business school as part of its Good Profit conference in Washington, D.C. Mr. Koch will discuss what he means by the term good profit, and its importance both for long-term business success and the preservation of a free and open society. The live Q&A will start at noon ET. If you would like to attend the session or view the livestream, send a note to: Dave Dziok at david.dziok@kochps.com

    QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “I think Sec. [Rex] Tillerson, Sec. [James] Mattis, and Chief of Staff [John] Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.” –Sen. Bob Corker

    NEED TO READ

    ‘Powerhouse Politics’ podcast: Top House Republican open to banning “bump stocks.” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Republican chair, aired concerns about so-called bump stock modifications that allow semi-automatic rifles to function like near-automatic weapons, and whether such attachments should be legal.. “We are talking to ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], we are talking to others — what is this device, how exactly it works and if it has the effect of being a machine gun, whether or not that should be allowed or, who should have access to these types of weapons,” Rodgers told ABC News’ Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks. http://abcn.ws/2xUANQB

    Texas Republican sees “no reason” for bump stocks, open to ban. Rep. Bill Flores, a popular Texas conservative serving in his fourth term in the House, is the first congressional Republican to endorse the idea of a ban on bump stocks. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, the senior Republican senator from Texas, also told reporters Wednesday that the bump stock issue is worth examining, and that he spoke with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, about holding a hearing. http://abcn.ws/2yJTvam

    White House talking points on Las Vegas shooting downplay gun control. A list of talking points compiled by the White House in the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas deemphasizes the role that gun control legislation could play in preventing future attacks while calling for patience to allow the investigation to run its course. Read the full list of administration talking points: http://abcn.ws/2fR4MSv

    Thousands of Dreamers could lose protection as DACA deadline arrives. Some 48,000 eligible unauthorized immigrants have yet to renew their immigration status as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite this week’s Oct. 5 deadline to renew. Of the 154,200 individuals whose DACA status is set to expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, just over 106,000 either have renewal requests currently pending with the federal immigration agency or have already had their renewal requests adjudicated, according to the DHS, which manages the program. http://abcn.ws/2xhXv5O

    Sen. Warren says credit bureaus “making millions” from data breaches. After a heated exchange with former Equifax CEO Richard Smith Wednesday during a Senate hearing about the company’s leak of data for millions of consumers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told ABC News she believes consumers should have more control over their personal information.The IRS recently gave Equifax a $7 million contract to help prevent fraud despite the breach over the summer that exposed more than 100 million individuals’ data, and which Equifax disclosed in early September. “They’re just raking in the money, even when they let your information get stolen,” she said. “That’s not right.” http://abcn.ws/2ge87YE

    Top Democrat questions Kellyanne Conway’s air travel. The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is raising questions about White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s air travel, and asking for proof that former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has paid for his seats on controversial private flights. In a letter to Conway obtained by ABC News, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has asked Conway for information on all private, non-commercial and military flights she has taken. http://abcn.ws/2xYyStm

    New Democratic ads would give Steve Bannon assist in war against Paul Ryan, GOP incumbents. USA Today

    Las Vegas gunman may have planned escape, had help: Sheriff. ABC News

    Rep. Tim Murphy announces he will not seek re-election. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Nuke deal hangs in balance as Trump plans Iran policy speech. The Associated Press

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