Ban on bump stocks comes closer to reality

Marsha Scott
March 12, 2018

The Department of Justice announced Saturday that it has initiated the process of banning bump stocks through a change in how firearms laws are interpreted by federal regulators.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a notice of regulation which, it said, will "clarify that the definition of "machinegun" in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act includes bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices".

The notice will now have to be approved by the OMB, the statement noted, after which the Justice Department will "seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible".

The devices help make semi-automatic weapons behave more like fully automatic ones.

Bump stocks were not used in the Florida shooting but came into the national spotlight because they were allegedly used in the Las Vegas massacre a year ago.

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But the step is tangible evidence that the department is working toward regulating the devices. Current iterations of the bump stock technically produce multiple trigger pulls, using a gun's recoil against a shooter's trigger finger to speed up the fire rate.

In an October letter to Rep. Carlos Curbelo, ATF President Michael R. Bouchard reiterated the agency's position on bump stocks, describing the devices as "engineered to avoid regulation under federal law". The notion that ATF chose not to regulate an item it had the authority to regulate is false. "ATF makes rulings based on the statutory authority contained in law and can not change the law to add new accessories that do not fall within the scope of existing law". Those who want to see the devices regulated say legislation would be a far easier and more effective way to ban them, as a change in regulation is surely to be met with legal challenges from manufacturers.

The plan does not address a number of issues supported by gun control advocates, including a ban on bump stocks or raising the minimum age required to purchase a rifle to 21.

The attachments are illegal in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and have been banned in California since 1990.

"We believe this legislation is important, is useful in improving the background check system - and can pass virtually immediately if there is not obstruction in Congress", a senior administration official said on a conference call.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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