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In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, an employee of North Raleigh Guns demonstrates how a "bump" stock works at the Raleigh, N.C., shop. The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, attached what is called a "bump-stock" to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones. (Photo: AP/Allen Breed, File)

The National Rifle Association joined the Trump administration and top congressional Republicans Thursday in a swift and surprising embrace of a restriction on Americans' guns, though a narrow one: to regulate the "bump stock" devices the Las Vegas shooter apparently used to horrifically lethal effect.

The devices, originally intended to help people with disabilities, fit over the stock and grip of a semi-automatic rifle and allow the weapon to fire continuously, some 400 to 800 rounds in a single minute. Bump stocks were found among the gunman's weapons and explain why victims in Las Vegas heard what sounded like automatic-weapons fire as the shooter rained bullets from a casino high-rise, slaughtering 58 people in a concert below and wounding hundreds more.

Thursday's sudden endorsements of controls came almost simultaneously from the NRA and the White House.

The NRA, which famously opposes virtually any hint of new restrictions, said in a statement: "The National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."

Moments after, at the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised the announcement.

"We welcome that and a conversation on that," Sanders said. "It's something we're very open to."

Later in the day, ahead of a dinner Thursday evening with senior military leaders at the White House, President Donald Trump said his administration is considering whether "bump stock" devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to perform more like fully automatic weapons should be banned.

House Speaker Paul Ryan added his support, as have other top Republicans.

"Obviously we need to look at how we can tighten up the compliance with this law so that fully automatic weapons are banned," the Wisconsin Republican told reporters at an event in Chestertown, Maryland.

It was a rare concession for all concerned. The nation's largest gun lobby and most Republicans have stood firmly in recent years against stricter gun regulations, even as one mass shooting after another horrified the nation. They blocked background check legislation after the shooting deaths of elementary school children in Connecticut in 2012, and took no action despite intense pressure from Democrats, including a House floor sit-in, after last year's bloodbath at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Even gunfire that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise near death at a baseball practice earlier this year didn't change the equation.

But this time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, combined with the opportunity to back a limited change that could potentially be accomplished administratively, spurred a shift.

Robert Spitzer, chairman of the political science department at SUNY Cortland, who watches the gun industry closely, said he was surprised.

Still, he said, "it's a pretty small concession in the realm of gun stuff. We're not talking about banning assault weapons here. It's a very specific accessory."

Once obscure, bump stocks are in the spotlight

The device, which retails for around $200, is not known among gun dealers as an item that is hugely popular. It was created ostensibly to help people with disabilities more easily fire AK- and AR-platform long guns.

Now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history has drawn attention to the devices, which critics say flout federal restrictions on automatic guns.

The stocks have been around for less than a decade. The government gave its seal of approval to selling them in 2010 after concluding that they did not violate federal law.

The device basically replaces the gun's stock and pistol grip and causes the gun to buck back and forth, repeatedly "bumping" the trigger against the shooter's finger. Technically, that means the finger is pulling the trigger for each round fired, keeping the weapon a legal semi-automatic.

The rapid fire does not necessarily make the weapon any more lethal — much of that would depend on the type of ammunition used. But it does allow the person firing the weapon to get off more shots more quickly.

It's unclear how many have been sold. Listings for the devices had been seen on websites for Walmart and Cabela's, two of the nation's largest gun retailers. But those listings were no longer on either company's website on Wednesday.

Walmart said in a statement that it pulled the devices after determining they violated a "prohibited items policy" and never should have been offered for sale. Cabela's did not return messages seeking comment.

The leading bump stock maker, Slide Fire, did not return messages seeking comment. But the Texas company's Facebook page is filled with videos extolling its features, including one in which a woman gushed, "It's so easy because once you slid it forward and leaned into it, it just fires." In another video, a man fires off 58 rounds to celebrate his 58th birthday in just 12 seconds.

Sales for firearms or specific accessories seem to jump after every high-profile shooting. That will likely happen again with bump stocks, said Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis.

"People will go, 'Oh geez, I should get one of those.' The other is that people will be concerned about efforts to ban them," Wintemute said.

Manufacturers tout the stocks, some of which sell for less than $200, as offering a simple and affordable alternative to automatic weapons without the hassle of a rigorous background check and other restrictions.

Ed Turner, who owns Ed's Public Safety, a gun shop in Stockbridge, Georgia, said he's already seeing a run on bump stocks since the shooting. He said he would be surprised if he had sold two of them in the past decade, but now he's unable to find any available, even from wholesalers.

Jay Wallace, owner of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, said soon after most of his customers buy one, "the newness wears off and they put it away and it stays in a closet."

While the stocks allow a gun to quickly spray bullets, gun experts say they also create such a jolt that accuracy is affected. That may not matter to gun owners who just want the thrill of shooting with one, or for those bent on destruction. Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman, fired hundreds of rounds indiscriminately from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on a music festival outside.

He had 23 guns in the room. Authorities found bump stocks attached to 12 of the weapons, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Jill Schneider said.

At Paddock's home, authorities found 19 more guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be turned into explosives, were in his car, authorities said.

The shooting renewed a push by some lawmakers to ban bump stocks. California Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, said the devices can enable a gun to fire 400 to 800 rounds per minute and "inflict absolute carnage."

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said the industry is prepared to have the devices scrutinized by lawmakers and gun-control advocates. That happens regularly after a major shooting. But he and others defended their use, suggesting it's unfair to go after firearms when other weapons — trucks and fertilizer, for example — aren't as quickly criticized after deadly attacks.

"Ultimately, when Congress ... looks at this, they'll start asking questions about why anybody needs this, and I think the answer is we have a Bill of Rights and not a Bill of Needs," Pratt said.

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