What does it solve?
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. Guns equipped with bump stocks were used in the largest and deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in 2017 in Las Vegas, in which 58 people were shot and killed and hundreds more were wounded.
In the years following the Las Vegas shooting, states across the country enacted laws prohibiting bump stocks, devices that harness the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to fire several shots in succession to mimic automatic fire. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) generally prohibits bump stocks by classifying them as machine guns under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
It is still up to Congress and state legislatures to close loopholes that allow the production or sale of other devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to function as machine guns.
How it works
Prohibiting bump stocks and other conversion devices would help prevent people from using them to mimic automatic gunfire.
On October 1, 2017, a shooter killed 58 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas. By using several AR-type rifles with attached bump stock accessories, the shooter was able to effectively convert his rifles into machine guns. He fired over one thousand rounds of ammunition in minutes, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.
Fully automatic weapons, more commonly known as machine guns, are highly regulated under federal law. The shooting in Las Vegas brought new attention to bump stocks, one type of widely available “conversion device” that allows for semiautomatic firearms to be effectively converted into machine guns.
In the year following the Las Vegas shooting, states across the country enacted laws that prohibit bump stocks. Several of the laws regulating bump stocks were signed by Republican governors (in Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, and Vermont).
Since the shooting in Las Vegas, ATF took steps to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks through a rule that changed the NFA definition of “machine gun” to clearly be inclusive of bump stock type devices. The rule took effect in March of 2019.