US officials familiar with the matter state that the Trump administration intends to announce federal rules that formally ban bump stocks within the coming days. Bump stocks garnered a significant amount of attention after the gunman in the Las Vegas shooting last year – an incident that resulted in the deaths of 58 concertgoers – had them equipped.
Not long after the shooting in Las Vegas, according to a report by CNN, President Donald Trump vowed to ban bump stocks, and many legislators urged Trump to support a permanent legislative fix.
Opposition from the National Rifle Association and some lawmakers ultimately made a change in regulations the only viable option for Trump is effectively outlaw bump stocks.
Bump stocks can increase a firearms rate of fire by making it easier to fire rounds when using a semi-automatic weapon. The bump stock takes advantage of a gun’s recoil, allowing it to “bump” the trigger and fire rounds more quickly than if a shooter had to pull the trigger with their finger manually.
During the Obama era, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives deemed bump stocks to be gun accessories or firearm parts, meaning they were not subject to federal regulation.
However, under Trump’s direction, the Justice Department proposed a rule earlier in the year that adjusted that interpretation, concluding that the devices enable a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” making them illegal under federal laws that prohibit machine guns.
Last month, Trump reportedly told the NRA that “bump stocks are gone.”
Under the anticipated new rule, owners of bump stocks would have 90 days to turn in the devices to authorities, or otherwise appropriately destroy or discard them.
“Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns,” said a senior Justice Department official.
“This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street.”
Some lawmakers anticipate legal challenges to the rule that could delay its full implementation, particularly based on the Obama administration’s initial determination.