U.S. Supreme Court poised for major gun rights case from New York

By Andrew Chung and Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court returns to the divisive issue of gun rights on Wednesday with arguments in a challenge to New York state’s limits on carrying concealed handguns in public – a case that could imperil certain firearms restrictions nationally.

The justices are set to hear an appeal by two gun owners and the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, of a lower court ruling throwing out their challenge to the state’s law, enacted in 1913.

Ahead of the oral arguments, advocates for gun control held a rally outside the courthouse, with victims of gun violence including former Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords speaking about their experiences. Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 at a community meeting in Arizona.

Across the street, a small group of gun rights activists posted signs including one reading, “We stand for the Bill of Rights,” a reference to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Lower courts rejected the argument by the plaintiffs that the New York law violates the Second Amendment. The lawsuit seeks an unrestricted right to carry concealed handguns in public.

The court’s 6-3 conservative majority is considered sympathetic to an expansive view of Second Amendment rights.

The case could yield the most important gun rights ruling in more than a decade. The court in 2008 recognized for the first time an individual’s right to keep guns at home for self-defense, and in 2010 applied that right to the states.

New York’s law requires a showing of “proper cause” for carrying concealed handguns. To carry such a weapon without restrictions, applicants must convince a state firearms licensing officer of an actual, rather than speculative, need for self-defense.

Decisions by Justice Richard McNally Jr., a state trial court judge, to deny gun owners Robert Nash and Brandon Koch unrestricted concealed-carry licenses triggered the legal fight. Nash and Koch, along with the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, sued in federal court.

The plaintiffs have argued that the right to self-defense matters most outside the home because that is where the chance of confrontation is highest.

New York has justified its law by arguing that analogous restrictions run from medieval England through the founding of the United States and ever since. The plaintiffs have argued that centuries-old restrictions were limited to dangerous and unusual weapons, not common arms for self-defense like handguns, and that many of America’s founders “carried firearms and supported the right to do so.”

Advocates for gun restrictions fear that the New York case could threaten other state and local measures such as “red flag” laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts, expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers or restrictions on selling untraceable “ghost” guns.

Eight states including New York empower officials to decide whether people can carry concealed handguns in public even if they pass criteria such as criminal background checks. New York has said that about two-thirds of applications for unrestricted permits are granted in the state, amounting to tens of thousands annually.

Gun rights, held dear by many Americans, are a contentious issue in a nation with high levels of firearms violence. President Joe Biden has called gun violence a “national embarrassment.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling is due by the end of June.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. Supreme Court takes major case on carrying concealed handguns

By Andrew Chung

(Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court stepped back into the heated debate over gun rights on Monday, agreeing to hear a challenge backed by the National Rifle Association to New York state’s restrictions on people carrying concealed handguns in public in a case that could further undermine firearms control efforts nationally.

The justices took up an appeal by two gun owners and the New York affiliate of the NRA, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, of a lower court ruling throwing out their challenge to the restrictions on concealed handguns outside the home.

Lower courts rejected the argument made by the plaintiffs that the restrictions violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The lawsuit seeks an unfettered right to carry concealed handguns in public.

The case could lead to the most consequential ruling on the Second Amendment’s scope in more than a decade. The court’s 6-3 conservative majority is seen as sympathetic to an expansive view of Second Amendment rights.

Gun control advocates are concerned that the conservative justices could create a standard for gun control that could imperil existing policies at the state level including expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers and “red flag” laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts.

A state firearms licensing officer had granted the two gun owners “concealed carry” permits but restricted them to hunting and target practice, prompting the legal challenge.

The U.S. debate over gun control has intensified following a spate of recent mass shootings. A day after an April 15 shooting in Indianapolis in which a gunman killed eight employees at a FedEx facility and then himself, President Joe Biden called U.S. gun violence a “national embarrassment.”

Biden, a long-time gun control advocate, has taken some steps to tighten federal firearms regulations. But major policy changes would require congressional passage. Senate Republicans stand in the way of Democratic-backed gun control measures already passed in the House of Representatives.

The New York case centers on a state law that requires a showing of “proper cause” for carrying concealed handguns. Under it, residents may obtain licenses restricted to hunting and target practice, or if they hold jobs such as a bank messenger or correctional officer.

To carry a concealed handgun without restriction, applicants must convince a firearms licensing officer that they have an actual, rather than speculative, need for self-defense.

The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and two of its members, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, sued in federal court. The men said they do not face any unique danger but want carry a handgun for self-defense.

‘RIGHT TO DEFEND OURSELVES’

“We’re confident that the court will tell New York and the other states that our Second Amendment right to defend ourselves is fundamental, and doesn’t vanish when we leave our homes,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office intends to show that the state’s law complies with the Second Amendment, adding, “We will vigorously defend any challenge to New York state’s gun laws that are intended to protect public safety.”

The Supreme Court in a landmark 2008 ruling recognized for the first time an individual’s right to keep guns at home for self-defense, and in 2010 applied that right to the states. The plaintiffs in the New York case asked for that right to be extended beyond the home.

A ruling invalidating New York’s law could imperil similar laws in other states setting criteria for a concealed-carry license. Seven other states and the District of Columbia impose restrictions that give authorities more discretion to deny concealed firearm permits.

The justices will hear the case during their next term, which begins in October, with a ruling due by the end of June 2022.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)

President Biden announces steps to limit ‘ghost’ guns, plans to tackle assault weapons

By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland announced limited measures to tackle gun violence in the United States on Thursday, in what the White House described as a first step to curb mass shootings, community bloodshed and suicides.

The new measures include plans for the Justice Department to crack down on self-assembled “ghost guns” and make “stabilizing braces” – which effectively turn pistols into rifles – subject to registration under the National Firearms Act.

Biden said he will ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to release an annual report on firearms trafficking in the United States, and make it easier for states to adopt “red flag” laws that flag at-risk individuals who own guns.

Biden also outlined more ambitious goals that he needs the support of Congress to accomplish, including reintroducing a ban on assault weapons, lifting an exemption on lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and passing a nationwide red flag law.

The executive orders unveiled on Thursday are not legislative.

“Today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis,” Biden said, speaking in the Rose Garden to an audience filled with family members of victims of gun violence.

He noted another mass shooting in South Carolina this week.

“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said.

Biden, a Democrat who has a long history of advocating for gun restrictions, has come under pressure to step up action after recent mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia.

Biden announced the measures alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Merrick Garland, who Biden said would prioritize gun violence as head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“We’ve had more tragedy than we can bear,” Harris said. “People on both sides of the aisle want action …. So all that is left is the will and the courage to act.”

The DOJ will issue a proposed rule on ghost guns in 30 days, and proposed rules on stabilizing braces and a model ‘red flag’ law for states within 60 days.

Garland said the department will also be rethinking the way that it analyzes criminal cases and investigations to try learn more about modern gun-trafficking patterns.

“Modern guns are not simply cast or forged anymore, but can also be made of plastic, printed on a 3D printer, or sold in self-assembly kits,” Garland said.

Gun control is a politically divisive subject in the United States, which has experienced a significant number of deadly mass shootings at schools and other public venues for decades.

Most Americans support strengthening U.S. gun laws. An overwhelming majority support expanding background checks and keeping guns from the mentally ill, polls by Reuters and others show.

A series of gun control measures have failed in Congress, however.

“Enough prayers. Time for some action,” Biden said on Thursday, asking Congress to pass a proposed bill requiring background checks at gun shows and online.

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms, and state attempts to limit who can buy guns or how they can carry them have been challenged in court by pro-gun lobby groups.

“Everything that is being proposed today is totally consistent with the Second Amendment,” Biden said. “And there’s a wide consensus behind the need to take action.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Heather Timmons Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

U.S. Supreme Court weighs taking up major gun rights case

By Andrew Chung

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday discussed taking up a major new gun rights case involving a National Rifle Association-backed challenge to a New York state law that restricts the ability of residents to carry concealed handguns in public.

It was among the cases on the agenda at the private weekly conference of the justices. There is heightened concern about gun violence in the United States following a pair of mass shootings in a span of a week, one in Georgia and the other in Colorado, that killed a total of 18 people.

Two gun owners and the New York affiliate of the NRA, an influential gun rights group closely aligned with Republicans, are asking the justices to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling throwing out their challenge to a policy that requires a state resident to show “proper cause” to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun outside the home.

Lower courts rejected the argument made by plaintiffs that the restrictions violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The Supreme Court is not expected to announce whether it will take action on the appeal until Monday at the earliest.

If the justices do eventually take up the case and hear oral arguments, they would once again step into a swirling debate over gun rights in a nation that has a gun fatality rate consistently higher than other rich countries.

Democratic President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged the Senate to approve two bills passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on March 11 that would broaden background checks on gun buyers. Biden also called for a national ban on assault-style weapons, while the White House said he is considering executive actions to address gun violence that would not require the approval of Congress.

Numerous mass shootings in the United States have failed to spur the U.S. Congress to pass gun control legislation sought by Democrats, thanks in large part to opposition from congressional Republicans and the NRA.

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority is seen as holding an expansive view of Second Amendment rights.

The New York case, if accepted, could lead to the most consequential ruling on the scope of the Second Amendment in more than a decade. The court in a landmark 2008 ruling recognized for the first time an individual’s right to keep guns at home for self-defense, and in 2010 applied that right to the states.

The plaintiffs in the New York case are asking for that right to be extended beyond the home. A ruling against New York could force lower courts to cast a skeptical eye on new or existing gun control laws.

Under New York’s law on carrying concealed handguns, a resident may obtain licenses that are restricted to hunting and target practice, or if they hold certain jobs such as a bank messenger or correctional officer. But to carry a concealed handgun without restriction, an applicant must convince a firearms licensing officer of an actual – rather than merely speculative – need for self-defense.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. House passes two Democratic-backed gun control bills

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a pair of gun control bills as Democrats seized upon a shifting political landscape that they said improved chances for enacting new laws after years of failed attempts.

The first measure, which passed the Democratic-led House 227-203, would close a long-standing loophole in gun laws by expanding background checks to those purchasing weapons over the internet, at gun shows and through certain private transactions. Only eight Republicans joined the Democrats in backing the bill.

The second bill, passed 219-210 with only two Republicans supporting it, would give authorities 10 business days for federal background checks to be completed before a gun sale can be licensed. Currently, such sales can proceed if the government cannot complete complicated background checks of prospective buyers within three days.

President Joe Biden is a supporter of expanded gun control measures. The legislation may face a tougher battle in the U.S. Senate, where Biden’s fellow Democrats hold an even slimmer majority than in the House.

The bills follow a series of deadly U.S. mass shootings over the past decade. Gun control is a divisive issue in the United States, which enshrines gun rights in its Constitution. Most Republicans strongly oppose gun restrictions, while most Democrats argue that new laws are needed to curb gun violence.

The House Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican, Jim Jordan, wrote on Twitter that House Democrats were “making it harder for law-abiding citizens to buy a gun.”

Many Democrats want to go further by banning sales of some high-capacity, military-style rifles that can fire ammunition rapidly.

Democratic Representative Mike Thompson, who has spearheaded a drive for expanded gun control for years, said 30 people are killed by gun violence daily in the United States, with that number growing to 100 if suicides and accidental deaths involving firearms are counted. At the same time, Thompson said, 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers are stopped from buying a gun every day.

“It only makes sense that if you expand it you’ll stop even more felons, more domestic abusers,” Thompson said.

Republicans opposing the bills argued that the legislation would not make American streets safer and would infringe upon the right to bear arms guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

With Democrats now controlling the White House along with both chambers of Congress, they are seeking to pursue liberal goals thwarted when Republicans led either the House or Senate. Democrats have said their position has been further strengthened by turmoil within the National Rifle Association, the influential gun lobby closely aligned with Republicans.

The Senate’s longstanding filibuster rule makes it so most legislation requires 60 votes to proceed in the 100-seat chamber rather than a simple majority, and Republicans could use the maneuver to try to block gun control measures. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said if that happens, Democrats would “come together as a caucus and we’ll see how we’re going to get this done,” possibly hinting at ending or altering the filibuster rule.

A bipartisan gun control bill in 2013 – proposed after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school – failed on a vote of 54-46 in the Senate, short of the needed 60 votes.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. Supreme Court sidesteps major gun rights ruling

By Andrew Chung

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a challenge to New York City restrictions on handgun owners transporting their firearms outside the home, meaning the justices for now will not be wading into the battle over the scope of the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The justices threw out the dispute at hand because the measure that was challenged by individual gun owners and the state’s National Rifle Association affiliate was rolled back by the city last July, rendering the case moot. The city had asked the Supreme Court not to hear the matter. The justices went ahead and heard arguments on Dec. 2 but ultimately agreed with the city.

The case was sent back to lower courts to determine whether the gun owners may seek damages or press claims that the amended law still infringes their rights. Justice Samuel Alito, in a dissent joined by fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said the case was not moot and that the city’s law ran afoul of the Second Amendment.

Although the New York case will no longer be decided, there are other challenges to gun regulations pending at the court. Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, while agreeing the current dispute is moot, said in a concurring opinion that the court “should address that issue soon.”

President Donald Trump’s administration had supported the NRA and the gun owners in the case. The powerful lobby group is closely aligned with U.S. conservatives and Republicans including Trump.

Gun control proponents had feared that the justices would use the case to widen gun rights by either extending the right to possess firearms for self-defense beyond the home or by creating a strict standard that would force lower courts to cast a skeptical eye on new or existing gun control laws.

Such a ruling could have threatened a wide array of gun control measures nationwide such as expanded background checks for gun buyers and “red flag” laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts, according to these advocates.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York and Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham)

Supreme Court rebuffs bid to expand legal protections for gun silencers

FILE PHOTO: SilencerCo CEO Joshua Waldron shows guns with suppressors in West Valley City, Utah February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File Photo

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a bid to widen legal protections for gun silencers in a case involving two Kansas men convicted for failing to register the devices as required by federal law, as the justices again sidestepped a chance to rule on the scope of the right to bear arms.

The justices declined to hear appeals by the two men, Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler, and left in place their convictions in cases brought by federal prosecutors. The men had asked the court to decide whether silencers – muzzle attachments that suppress the sound of a gunshot – are covered by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which protects the right to keep and bear arms.

The court’s action came in the aftermath of a May 31 mass shooting in the Virginia coastal city of Virginia Beach in which a gunman who killed 12 people used weapons including a handgun equipped with a silencer.

President Donald Trump, a Republican with a close relationship to the National Rifle Association pro-gun lobby, said in an interview aired on June 5 that he does not like silencers and would be open to considering banning the devices. His administration this year imposed a ban on “bump stock” attachments that enable semi-automatic weapons to be fired rapidly, with the Supreme Court in March permitting the policy to take effect.

Kettler and Cox were prosecuted together in 2014 after Kettler purchased a silencer from Cox’s military surplus store in Chanute, Kansas. Both were prosecuted under a federal law called the National Firearms Act, which requires registration of certain firearms, with silencers included in a list of covered items along with grenades, machine guns and bombs.

Cox was convicted of possessing an unregistered silencer as well as an unregistered short-barreled rifle and transferring unregistered silencers. Kettler was convicted of possessing an unregistered silencer.

The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld both men’s convictions last year, prompting them to appeal to the Supreme Court.

In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear its biggest gun rights case since 2010, taking up a challenge to New York City’s strict limits on handgun owners transporting their firearms outside the home.

New York officials are considering revising the measure, which may lead to the Supreme Court case becoming moot before the justices hear arguments in their next term, which begins in October.

The court in recent years has been reluctant to take up gun cases and has yet to decide whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public, a question left unanswered in its two most recent gun-related decisions.

In its 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, the court held that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual right to bear arms. In its 2010 McDonald v. City of Chicago ruling, the court held that the earlier ruling applied to the states.

The court currently has two appeals pending that ask for the justices to rule that the right to bear arms extends outside the home, as well as two other gun-related cases. The justices may be waiting for the New York case to be resolved before deciding what moves to take on the other cases.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. judge upholds Massachusetts assault weapons ban

FILE PHOTO - AR-15 rifles are displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday upheld a Massachusetts law banning assault weapons including the AR-15, saying the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantee of Americans’ right to bear firearms does not cover them.

U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston ruled that assault weapons and large-capacity magazines covered by the 1998 law fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s personal right to bear arms.

He also rejected a challenge to an enforcement notice Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued in 2016 clarifying what under the law is a “copy” of an assault weapon. Healey announced that notice after a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The decision released on Friday came amid renewed attention to school shootings, gun violence and firearms ownership after a gunman killed 17 students and faculty at a Florida high school in February, prompting a surge of gun control activism by teenage students.

In a 47-page ruling, Young cited former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative who died in 2016, as having observed that weapons that are most useful in military service may be banned. Young said the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was such a weapon.

He acknowledged arguments by plaintiffs including the Gun Owners’ Action League who noted the AR-15’s popularity in arguing the law must be unconstitutional because it would ban a class of firearms Americans had overwhelming chosen for legal purposes.

“Yet the AR-15’s present-day popularity is not constitutionally material,” Young wrote. “This is because the words of our Constitution are not mutable. They mean the same today as they did 227 years ago when the Second Amendment was adopted.”

Healey, a Democrat, in a statement welcomed the decision.

“Strong gun laws save lives, and we will not be intimidated by the gun lobby in our efforts to end the sale of assault weapons and protect our communities and schools,” she said.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not respond to a request for comment.

They had filed their lawsuit in 2017 and based part of their case on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Scalia authored in 2008 that held for the first time that individual Americans have a right to own guns.

The justices have avoided taking up another major gun case in the years since and in November refused to hear a similar case challenging Maryland’s 2013 state ban on assault weapons.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Trump backs effort to improve gun background checks: White House

Placards and letters are shown, signed by worshipers at Christ Church United Methodist Church in response to shootings in nearby Parkland, Florida which will be sent to legislators and officials in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

By Jeff Mason

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday that President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, days after a shooting at a Florida school killed 17 people.

Trump spoke to Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, on Friday about a bi-partisan bill that he and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sanders said in a statement.

Previous mass shootings in the United States have also stirred outrage and calls for action to tighten U.S. gun laws, with few results in Congress.

Students are mobilizing around the country in favor of stronger gun laws after the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history took place on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people using an assault-style rifle.

Trump, who visited survivors of the shooting and law enforcement officials on Friday night, is a strong supporter of gun rights and won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby group, for his 2016 presidential campaign.

Many Republicans generally oppose measures to tighten gun restrictions, citing the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protection of the right to bear arms.

Former President Barack Obama and many of his fellow Democrats unsuccessfully pushed to pass gun control legislation after a gunman killed 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

Cornyn and Murphy introduced their bill to improve federal background checks last November, days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people in a church in Texas.

The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, would ensure that states and federal agencies comply with existing law on reporting criminal history records to the national background check system.

Cornyn, of Texas, had complained when introducing the legislation that compliance by agencies was “lousy.”

Students are planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.

Some students reacted with caution to Trump’s support on background checks.

“We want to prevent mass shootings from happening and while this could have happened with other types of weapons, NeverAgain believes school safety should be priority right now, not just background checks,” said Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Kali Clougherty, 18, referring to a campaign for gun control. “This is about the victims. Don’t forget that, we never will.”

(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Katanga Johnson in Florida; Editing by Alistair Bell)

South Carolina capital could be first U.S. city to ban gun bump stocks

An example of a bump stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, U.S. on October 4, 2017.

By Harriet McLeod

(Reuters) – South Carolina’s capital on Tuesday could become the first U.S. city to ban the use of bump stocks, a gun accessory that has drawn national scrutiny after being found among the Las Vegas mass shooter’s arsenal of weapons in the October rampage.

Last month, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a law that explicitly bans bump stocks.

Steve Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia, the South Carolina capital, said the city council was expected in a vote on Tuesday night to approve an ordinance barring the devices, which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute like fully automatic machine guns.

“One of the common refrains that you hear, whether it was in Texas or Vegas or Sandy Hook, is that a good guy with a gun could have stopped the carnage,” Benjamin, a Democrat, said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s time for the good guys with guns to begin to pass some really good policy.”

Authorities said Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had 12 rifles outfitted with bump stocks in the hotel room where he launched his attack on an outdoor concert, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Since then several states and cities have proposed measures outlawing or restricting the attachments, and the U.S. Justice Department said earlier this month it was considering a ban on certain bump stocks.

California and New York do not prohibit bump stocks outright, but the devices fall under the definition of an automatic weapon, which are illegal in those states, according to Anne Teigen, who covers firearm legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some other states and the District of Columbia have assault weapons bans that could include bump stocks.

“We are not aware of any cities that have passed ordinancesbanning bump stocks,” said Tom Martin, a spokesman for the National League of Cities.

In Columbia, four of the council’s six members approved the city’s proposed ordinance on a first reading earlier this month.

The measure also would ban the use of other gun attachments that allow rifles to fire faster. Owners would be required to keep them stored separately from any weapon.

Trigger-enhancing devices are not gun parts, gun components, weapons or ammunition, which state law prohibits cities from regulating, Benjamin said.

The mayor, who has a background in law enforcement and said he owns guns, said the measure had drawn support from local police and council members who support the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting gun ownership rights.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod in Charleston, South Carolina; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)