More Than a Year After the Shooting in Las Vegas, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Will Prohibit Bump Stocks by Categorizing Them as Machine Guns Under the National Firearms Act
Everytown, Moms Demand Action Helped Pressure ATF to Act by Mobilizing Supporters to Submit Tens of Thousands of Comments in Favor of the Regulation to Ban Bump Stocks; ATF Reports During Second Comment Period, More Than 64 Percent of Comments Expressed Support for Regulating Bump Stocks
NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statement in response to the Department of Justice issuing its final rule to prohibit the production, sale, and possession of bump stocks by categorizing them as machine guns, which are illegal under the National Firearms Act (NFA). It is still up to Congress to close any loopholes that would allow the production or sale of devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to function as machine guns.
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“We’re glad the Trump administration is taking this common-sense first step — now we’re focused on what comes next. On Election Day, American voters made it crystal clear they want comprehensive action to break the pattern of gun violence, and that starts with strengthening background checks. Bottom line: It’s long past time for Congress to act.”
Machine guns have been tightly regulated under federal law since the 1930s, but bump stocks and other conversion devices are designed to skirt the law and mimic automatic gunfire and can increase the lethality of shootings. Guns equipped with bump stocks were used in the largest and deadliest mass shooting in modern American history last year in Las Vegas, where 58 people were shot and killed and hundreds more were wounded.
In response to a December 2017 advance notice of proposed rulemaking, Everytown filed a formal comment urging the Department of Justice to clarify that existing federal law does indeed prohibit bump stocks and many other conversion devices. Everytown also explained that some devices are not included under the current statute, and urged Congress to finish the work of prohibiting all of these dangerous accessories by passing legislation.
Since the shooting in Las Vegas, the gun safety movement has organized a tremendous amount of grassroots energy and harnessed it to participate in the regulatory process.
During the second round of public comments on the proposed regulation, the number of comments more than tripled as Everytown and Moms Demand Action mobilized tens of thousands of gun safety supporters to demand action to prohibit bump stocks and similarly deadly devices. An ATF analysis showed that in that period, of the nearly 120,000 comments filed, more than 64 percent of the comments expressed support for regulating bump stocks.
A “bump stock” is a device that harnesses the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to fire several shots in succession, mimicking automatic fire. One distributor, Slide Fire Solutions, advertised that their device enabled a shooter to fire 100 rounds in 7 seconds. The devices attempt to skirt around the National Firearms Act (NFA), which has successfully regulated the sale of machine guns and other deadly weapons for nearly a century.
Within days of the Las Vegas mass shooting, members of Congress from both political parties introduced legislation to prohibit or regulate bump stocks. But backed by the NRA, the congressional majority did not allow a vote on any of those bills.
State legislatures and governors from both parties stepped in where Congress did not. In the last year, 11 states across the country passed laws that prohibit bump stocks. Four of the eleven bills regulating bump stocks have been signed into law by Republican governors. In November 2017, Massachusetts became the first state after the shooting in Las Vegas to pass a law barring bump stocks. Since then, ten more states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – have followed suit. Read more about bump stocks here.