Trump administration moves to officially ban bump stocks

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, and has made them illegal to possess beginning in late March. The devices will be banned under a federal law that prohibits machine guns, according to a senior Justice Department official.

Bump stocks became a focal point of the national gun control debate after they were used in October 2017 when a man opened fired from his Las Vegas hotel suite into a crowd at a country music concert below, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The regulation, which was signed Tuesday morning, will go into effect 90 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday, the Justice Department official said. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly ahead of the regulation's formal publication and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In March, President Donald Trump said his administration would "ban" the devices, which he said "turn legal weapons into illegal machines." The Justice Department then started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to define bump stocks as machine guns.

The amended regulations reverse a 2010 ATF decision that found bump stocks did not amount to machine guns and could not be regulated unless Congress changed existing firearms law or passed a new one. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, there was a growing push by some members of Congress to ban bump stocks, but no legislation was passed. At least 10 states have sought their own restrictions on the devices.

People who own bump stocks will be required to either surrender them to the ATF or destroy them by late March, the official said. The change has undergone a legal review and the Justice Department and ATF are ready to fight any legal challenge that may be brought, the official added.

The amended rule was met almost immediately with resistance from gun rights advocates, including Gun Owners of America, which said it would file a lawsuit against the Justice Department and ATF in order to protect gun owners from the "unconstitutional regulations."

"These regulations implicate Second Amendment rights, and courts should be highly suspect when an agency changes its 'interpretation' of a statute in order to impair the exercise of enumerated constitutional rights," the organization's executive director, Erich Pratt, said.

Police said the gunman in the Las Vegas massacre, Stephen Paddock, fired for more than 10 minutes using multiple weapons outfitted with target scopes and bump stocks. Paddock fatally shot himself after the shooting and there were 23 assault-style weapons, including 14 fitted with rapid-fire "bump stock" devices, strewn about the room near his body on the floor of his 32nd-floor hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel.

The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, Slide Fire Solutions has stopped taking orders and shut down its website. Remaining stock is being sold by RW Arms of Fort Worth, Texas.

Category:

Poll

Are you ready for winter?