Gun control: USA justice department moves to ban rapid-fire bump stocks


Saturday's move comes just two weeks after President Donald Trump said that he had directed the DOJ to propose the rule change.

In other words, although bump stocks do not convert semiautomatics into automatics, redefining the term "machinegun" allows bump stocks to be regulated (banned). A bump stock was used by the Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock who killed 58 and injured 851 from his perch in a top floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in 2017. If the Office of Management and Budget okays the proposed regulation, it would then be published, with members of the public allowed to comment, before a final version was put into place.

In a notice submitted to the Office of Management and Budget, the DOJ recommended the definition of "machine gun" in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act be expanded to include bump stock type devices. Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old charged with killing 17 people in that incident, did not use a bump stock, though his case has sparked a nationwide push for a variety of gun-control measures.

The devices help make semi-automatic weapons behave more like fully automatic ones. The regulation side-steps the Congressional legislative process by classifying bump stocks as a machine gun banned by federal law.

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In the wake of the Las Vegas attack, which sparked a nationwide discussion about banning the devices, Republicans in Congress and the National Rifle Association have pointed to the ATF to regulate the devices, rather than advocating for a legislative approach.

Gun manufacturers are likely to challenge any change in the current standards created in 2010 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Bump stocks require the shooter's finger to repeatedly hit the gun's trigger to fire at a high speed, which differs from the legal definition of a machine gun as a firearm that can fire multiple shots "by a single function of the trigger".

The proposed regulation would reclassify the controversial device as a "machinegun", making it illegal to own, sell or manufacture bump stocks.

After the Parkland shooting, Trump announced his support for a ban on the devices.