DOJ Introduces Bump Stock Ban Regulation

AG Sessions said the new rule clarifies bump stocks fall under the definition of “machine gun.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions.photo from slate.com

At the end of last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced a regulation "effectively banning" bump stocks, according to this story on guns.com.

According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the new rule clarifies that bump stocks fall under the definition of "machine gun" as it pertains to the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968, the story says.

“How can it be that the Trump administration is placing itself to the left of the Obama administration, which determined in 2010 that bump stocks did not convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully-automatic weapon?”

- —Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America Executive Director

"Since the day he took office, President Trump has had no higher priority than the safety of each and every American," Sessions said in a release. "That is why today the Department of Justice is publishing for public comment a proposed rule making that would define 'machine gun' to include bump stock-type devices under federal law—effectively banning them.

“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress.  I look forward to working with the President’s School Safety Commission to identify other ways to keep our country and our children safe, and I thank the President for his courageous leadership on this issue.”

The firearm accessory, which mimics a bump fire with semi-automatic long guns, was a little known niche item before it gained national notoriety when a lone gunman used firearm equipped with bump stocks to kill 58 people and injure more than 800 more by firing from a hotel window into a concert crowd in Las Vegas last October.

The proposal flies in the face of the decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in 2010 when the devices were introduced by Slide Fire Solutions.

"The Slide Fire does not fire automatically with a single pull/function of the trigger," said Rick Vasquez in a Facebook post on Oct. 7. Vasquez is the now-retired agent who made the ruling on the device.

The agency, however, did an about-face on Friday, saying their previous determination was incorrect.

"In this proposed rule, the department accordingly interprets the definition of 'machine gun' to clarify that all bump stock-type devices are 'machine guns' under the GCA and NFA because they convert a semiautomatic firearms into a firearm that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger," the DOJ said Friday.

Gun rights groups have already promised legal challenges to the regulation.

"Gun Owners of America will seek out other pro-gun organizations to join us challenging this illegal executive action in court," said Gun Owners of America Executive Director Erich Pratt in this news release Friday. "And we predict that an honest, constitutional and legal analysis by the courts will result in this regulation being struck down."

"How can it be that the Trump administration is placing itself to the left of the Obama administration, which determined in 2010 that bump stocks did not convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully-automatic weapon?" Pratt asked in the release.

"To be sure, banning these items will not make us any safer and it will only lead to more infringements -- to restrictions on magazines, match triggers and more," he continued. "This is something that the anti-gun Left understands and is hoping for. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stated that 'I certainly hope' a ban on bump stocks will lead to further gun restrictions. She's actually right. Saying 'yes' to one infringement will eventually lead to more."