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Hatch Unsure About Regulating Bump Stocks

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Julia Ritchey / KUER
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Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks with Utah Senate President Wayne Neiderhauser at the capitol on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he’s not ready to take a firm position on the regulation of bump stocks, the controversial device used in last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Bump stocks allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly, simulating a fully automatic weapon.

Hatch told KUER he has to look into it more.

“I’m not unsophisticated with regard to weapons and guns, but I’d never heard of it before,” he said. “So I’ve got to study it, look into it and see just what can be done. You’ve got a wild, crazy man using these types of materials, does that mean everybody else is wild and crazy? No.”

Hatch spoke after a ceremony over the weekend at the capitol, where Jon Huntsman Jr. was ceremonially sworn-in as ambassador to Russia by Gov. Gary Herbert.

Congresswoman Mia Love was at the same ceremony. She was one of the first high-ranking Utah Republicans to raise concerns about the device last week.

“As a person that does everything I can to make sure that I preserve the right for people to bear arms — bump stocks? I don’t see why anybody would actually need it,” she said. “I can’t find a reasonable use for it, except for the fact that this person in Las Vegas used it and did quite a bit of harm.”

The legality of bump stocks has sparked a rare bipartisan response in Congress. The NRA has also expressed support for additional federal regulations, though stopped short of calling for a full ban.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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