CLINTON ― GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis spoke Saturday in Iowa against regulations on devices that can be used to make firearms more lethal by improving their rate of fire and stability.
Responding to an audience member’s question at an event in Clinton, the Florida governor said he would like to see a repeal of restrictions on bump stocks instituted during the Trump administration and on pistol braces by the Biden administration.
Bump stocks enable a shooter to rapidly fire multiple rounds from semiautomatic weapons after an initial trigger pull. Pistol braces attach to the back of a handgun, lengthening it while strapping to the arm. Advocates say the attachments make handguns safer and more accurate. Gun safety groups say they can be used, in effect, to lengthen a concealable handgun, making it more lethal.
The Department of Justice under President Donald Trump amended Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations to place bump stocks under the federal legal definition of machine gun, according to the ATF, making them illegal.
The ban was put in place after a shooter used bump stock-equipped weapons to kill 58 people and injure more than 850 others at a 2017 country music concert in Las Vegas, firing from a perch in a nearby hotel. The mass shooting was the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans struck down the ban in January.
The U.S. Supreme Court in its current term may hear that case that case and another challenging the ban from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But as of Oct. 13, neither case had been accepted by the court.
Pistol, or stabilizing, braces were used in shootings that killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, nine people in Dayton, Ohio, and six people in a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. A Biden administration regulation took effect June 1 that requires owners to register the braces.
The rule survived a Republican attempt in the U.S. Senate to overturn it. However, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in August ruled that the registration requirement was unlikely to survive a legal challenge and extended an order allowing a gun dealer and others challenging it to keep owning, buying and selling the devices without registering them.
The case was sent back to a federal judge in Texas who on Oct. 4 granted an injunction against the rule in favor of the plaintiffs.
DeSantis said Saturday in Clinton that the pistol brace rule in particular “can make a lot of people felons overnight.”
He also pointed to the recent attacks in Israel by Hamas militants, including the massacre of civilians by Hamas gunmen, as an example of why gun rights under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment are needed.
Ahead of DeSantis’ 2022 re-election as governor, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund gave him an endorsement and an A+ rating, including for his opposition to gun, magazine and ammunition bans.
DeSantis led off the event in Clinton addressing domestic concerns, including inflation and dysfunction in Congress, but also spoke extensively on the attacks in Israel, his state’s response against humanitarian assistance and refuge in the United States for Palestinian people in Gaza, and against Iran, which backs Hamas.
DeSantis also in Iowa on Saturday launched a veterans coalition, promising to modernize health care and address mental health issues for veterans and improve military recruitment.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Phillip Sitter covers suburban growth and development for the Des Moines Register. Phillip can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @pslifeisabeauty.