The director of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has said that his organisation is open to increased regulation on controversial "bump stock" devices for but is unlikely to support a full ban of the product.
"We don't believe that bans have ever worked on anything," Chris Cox told Fox News on Sunday. "What we have said is very clear: If something transforms a semi-automatic to function like a fully automatic, then it should be regulated differently."
He echoed comments made Friday (6 October), when he urged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to review whether the devices currently comply with federal law.
"ATF needs to do its job," he told Fox News.
The day prior, US president Donald Trump said he was considering banning bump stocks, which were reportedly used by gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, to help murder 58 people who were attending a Las Vegas country music festival on 1 October.
Bump stocks work by modifying semi-automatic guns so they can fire continuously in full-auto, and were initially designed for people with disabilities.
Calls for a ban instantly spiked after they were found in the gunman's room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
On Friday the NRA - which is typically strongly opposed to any form of regulation - said in a potentially landmark statement that "devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
But speaking to the Associated Press, some gun industry experts claimed that the stance was nothing more than "a ruse" to distract from broader gun control legislation.
"They're dismissed as silly gadgets that really inhibit the accuracy of a firearm. If these bump stocks were super popular among gun owners, we'd see a very different position from the NRA," said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California.
He added that the NRA "can throw a sacrificial lamb of 'bump stocks' because they know that gun owners don't use them or like them."
Investigators are yet to determine a motive for the Las Vegas attack and are acting under the belief that he was operating alone. But authorities stress the investigation remains ongoing, noting that evidence suggested the incident was "pre-planned extensively."
Paddock was found dead in his hotel room, seemingly by self-inflicted gunshot wound. A Las Vegas prostitute has claimed Paddock liked to act out violent rape fantasies and previously paid her $6,000 a time for a series of aggressive sexual encounters.