Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement in response to the ATF’s decision to initiate a six-month rulemaking to revisit its prior decisions that the agency did not have the legal authority to ban bump stocks:
“ATF’s announcement today that it will spend six months reviewing bump stocks kicks the can down the road, and fails to take any meaningful steps to respond to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“Here’s the bottom line. The ATF lacks authority under the law to ban bump-fire stocks. Period. The agency made this crystal clear in 2010 and again in a 2013 letter to Congress, writing that ‘stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes.’
“The ATF Association, which represents the bureau’s rank and file, reiterated that ‘the law is very clear and it does not currently allow ATF to regulate such accessories.’
“If ATF were to change its view after a six-month review, lawsuits would be filed immediately. Gun manufacturers make millions selling these devices and they would seize on an agency flip flop to tie up new regulations for years.
“Legislation is the only answer and Congress should not attempt to pass the buck by waiting for the ATF. Congress banned automatic weapons more than 30 years ago. It should also ban new devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to mimic machine guns. This should be a no-brainer and is the least we could do in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.”
The ATF Association consists of current and former employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and is supported by organizations and citizens across the country. Recently, some have attempted to cast blame on ATF for not banning devices like the “bump slide” used in the Las Vegas shootings.
We would like to clarify this confusing issue to protect honorable ATF employees from false allegations that they chose to make this item legal when it was the law that prohibited them from regulating the item. We also hope this information will assist you in a better understanding of this issue.
The National Firearms Act of 1934, Title 26 U.S.C. 5845(b) defines a “machine gun” as any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. ATF also holds that any item that can cause a firearm to fire more than one shot by the single function of the trigger is also regulated as a machine gun.
The Las Vegas killer used a “bump slide” accessory that attaches to the stock of a semi-automatic rifle and enhances the rate at which the shooter can pull the trigger on the firearm. This increases the rate of fire close to that of an actual machine gun. However, under the current law, it does not make it a machine gun.
The bump slide, and several other similar after-market accessories that increase the rate at which a shooter can pull the trigger, are engineered to avoid regulation under Federal law. These accessories DO NOT cause the firearm to shoot more than one shot by the single function of a trigger pull. The notion that ATF chose not to regulate an item it had the authority to regulate is false. The law is very clear and it does not currently allow ATF to regulate such accessories.