On Saturday the Trump administration took the first steps to ban "bump stocks" by formally submitting legislation to ban the modification, which gives high-capacity rifles the ability to shoot as machine guns.
In a notice submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget, the DoJ proposed that bump stocks be included in the definition of "machine gun" in the 1934 National Firearms Act.
President Donald Trump administration's plan to ban bump stocks is moving forward.
The relatively affordable add-ons became a major gun control issue after the Los Vegas shooter used bump stocks to upgrade his semi-automatic weapons during the October 2017 massacre of 58 concert attendees. The devices will remain on the market until the regulation is approved by the Office of Management and Budget. "Accordingly, we find that the "bump stock" is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm".
But the step is tangible evidence that the department is working toward regulating the devices. Current iterations of the bump stock technically produce multiple trigger pulls, using a gun's recoil against a shooter's trigger finger to speed up the fire rate. While bump stocks effectively turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns - which are already regulated - it is debatable whether they do so in such a way that the stocks are encompassed under existing law.
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In an October letter to Rep. Carlos Curbelo, ATF President Michael R. Bouchard reiterated the agency's position on bump stocks, describing the devices as "engineered to avoid regulation under federal law". "The law is very clear and it does not now allow ATF to regulate such accessories", Bouchard wrote.
The attachments are illegal in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and have been banned in California since 1990.
During a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump vowed that a ban on bump stocks as a legal item in the US was nearly "finished".
"If ATF tries to ban these devices after admitting repeatedly that it lacks the authority to do so, that process could be tied up in court for years, and that would mean bump stocks would continue to be sold", Sen.
"Legislation is the only answer", she said.