Just days after the tragedy in Las Vegas, the call went out from the media, members of Congress and even the NRA, to ban the bump stock, an accessory that uses the energy of a rifle’s recoil to activate the trigger mechanism at a high rate of speed, similar to that of an automatic weapon.

Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) look at regulating bump stocks as a “quick fix.” Several Republican Senators signed a letter to the ATF requesting that agency to review its position on the device, hoping the agency would regulate the devices and prevent the lawmakers from having to vote for a gun control measure.

At the same time, several members of Congress introduced or co-sponsored various pieces of legislation to ban bump stocks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) reintroduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks and similar devices. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the House version of Feinstein’s bill.

On at least two previous occasions under the Obama Administration, the ATF reviewed bump stocks to determine whether they fell within the purview of the AF’s regulatory authority.  The ATF adopted the position they don’t.

First Aid for Gunshot Wounds 2A Institute

The ATF had written letters in 2010 and 2013 explaining how the Gun Control Act (1968) and National Firearms Act (1934) do not provide a way for the bureau to regulate bump stocks. The ATF has the authority to regulate automatic weapons, defined as firearms that are designed to discharge more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. Bump stocks do not fall within that definition as they still only allow for a single round to be discharged with each separate pull of the trigger, albeit at a high rate of speed.

In its April 2013 letter to Rep. Ed Perlmutter, ATF Assistant Director for Public and Governmental Affairs Richard Marianas wrote:

“We remain committed to the security of our Nation and the fight against violent crime. However, bump-fire stocks that do not fall within any of the classifications for firearm contained in Federal law may only be classified as firearms components. Stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of Federal firearms statutes. Therefore, ATF does not have the authority to restrict their lawful possession, use, or transfer.”

At a briefing before Congressional leaders last week, the ATF again reiterated it does not have the authority to reclassify and regulate the devices. That, the ATF argued, falls upon the lawmakers to craft legislation to accomplish a ban or to enable the ATF to regulate bump stocks in much the same manner as it regulates automatic firearms.

It is a legislative issue, not an administrative one, best left to members of Congress to address according to the position taken by the ATF.

As it now stands, the furor over bump stocks seems to have waned and the urgency to do something to ban the devices no longer appears pressing to lawmakers.

First Aid for Gunshot Wounds 2A Institute

Comment section


  1. Hopefully it will just die a quiet death. Two thing to remember about trying to fix the “problem”. First, the elephant is a horse designed by committee. Secondly, liberals have been trying to band “assault weapons” for more then 50 years and still don’t have two definitions alike. You can not solve a human problem by blaming the tool.

    Let the people give you the power. They will gladly trade freedom for security. Then they shall have neither.

  2. I said to my Son and his friends when bump-stocks first came out that it was a bad idea. They asked why, I said it defeats the intent of the NFA to ban automatic weapons and that it was just a matter of time until someone would use them in a mass shooting, giving the anti-gun lobby another excuse for new gun laws. Bump-Stocks are more trouble than they are worth. Too late now to ban them by executive action (ATF), now congress is involved and any additional gun law they pass will most likely make things more restrictive and more confusing. Automatic weapons are good for threat suppression, troops (people) in the open and economy of force in the attack or defense. All those look like military applications to me. Civilians who choose to be entertained by automatic fire should buy an automatic weapon and all that goes with that. Would that stopped the shooting in Las Vegas? No, the guy was rich and could have gotten automatic weapons with a little extra trouble or made trigger modifications. Or he could have flown a private plane, plated a bomb or driven a bus through the crowd. If someone is intent on killing a lot of people at once, they will find a way. Gun enthusiasts don’t need bump stocks. I would not own one, if nothing else, than the unprofessional and uneducated perception the Bump-Stock owners give to the rest of us.

  3. I enjoy target shooting, in that I want to hit the target as close to the bull as
    possible. This is not possible with a “Bump Stock”, or a machine gun.
    All it does is show that your manhood is determined by how many rounds
    you can get off in one minute.
    I abhor waste, and shooting just for the noise and flame is wasteful.

  4. Agree with Edwin C. Harris comment. That is the old saying…spoons don’t cause obesity and heart disease and diabetes….behavior does.
    But closer to an actual incident….remember back to 14 July 2016. Nice, France. A man, terrorist…armed only with a small knife….killed a truck driver at a truck stop. Stole the big rig truck…then used it to drive down a pedestrian only walking street packed with people enjoying a summer evening. 86 Murdered, 456 others maimed and severely injured. Thousands there scared and scarred…and the people of France traumatized. Sound familiar?
    The lesson is the behavior is the problem…the person…not the INANIMATE OBJECTS the evil person uses. Here in America….remember the Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal Building? 168 murdered, 680 maimed and injured. Thousands of family members and witnesses traumatized for life. Would the solution be to ban fertilizer and clocks and put the rental truck business’s out of business and criminalize the people who work for all rental equipment businesses? Evil is a behavior…not an inanimate object.

  5. I am all for the second amendment, but also for common sense, if we regulate bump stocks then what else will the government want , I believe we need more stricter back ground checks, Iam a Ltc holder by the way , the problem is if a bad person wants a gun he Will still it or by it on the streets, it’s a never ending cycle.

  6. Essentially, the bump stock is is an appliance that aids gun owners with low to medium skills to fire their weapons at a higher rate of speed than they could otherwise. But bump firing can be done without the device, and a high rate of fire can be achieved simply through more, and more regular practice.
    The world record for 12 aimed shots from a revolver is 2.99 seconds. Any modern firearm may be fired rapidly with sufficient practice.
    So, what banning bump stocks does as a practical matter, is it basically criminalizes firing a firearm rapidly.
    It is comparable to your mom telling you when you were a child to go ride your bike, but DON’T RIDE TOO FAST!!
    It’s unenforceable as a practical matter and only serves to turn law abiding gun owners into criminals.

    • I see this as an unconstitutional way to “make a law by passing the legislation to a non legislative group. Congress proved again chiken do little attitude.

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