The Trump administration has officially moved to ban so-called “bump stocks,” that is, devices that can be assembled onto a semi-automatic weapon in order to increase its rate of fire, WTTG-TV (Washington, D.C.) is reporting.
On Tuesday morning, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed the new legislation, which will go into effect 90 days after it is added to the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday. The bump-stock ban language will be added to an existing federal law that bans machine guns.
The last time time the federal government tried to ban bump stocks was back in 2010, during the Obama administration. At the time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agreed that the language in the proposed ban wouldn’t hold up Constitutionally, saying that “bump stocks” couldn’t be regulated unless — and until — Congress either changed existing gun laws, or wrote new ones.
The new ban, says an unnamed official speaking on condition of anonymity, has passed regulatory muster and, allegedly, the Justice Department and the ATF are both fully prepared to counter any challenges against the ban.
Once the ban goes into effect, gun owners who already own bump stocks will have 90 days — likely until March 2019 — to surrender them.
The Trump administration is officially banning gun "bump stocks," senior officials tell CNN. People will get 90 days to turn them in once a new federal rule is published. https://t.co/WywW4kYTO5 pic.twitter.com/jNbCKT0DWg
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 18, 2018
Bump stocks, as they are called, have long been at the center of the firearms debate. The devices can turn a deadly weapon into something even more lethal, allowing the user to fire off more shots in a shorter amount of time.
In fact, bump stocks have been a factor in at least one American mass shooting. Back in October 2017, Stephen Paddock used his guns — many outfitted with bump stocks and other after-market parts — as he allegedly targeted victims from his 32-story window at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. Whether or not the bump-stock ban would have prevented, or mitigated, the Las Vegas shooting remains unclear, however.
The Trump administration, for its part, has been suggesting for some time that a bump-stock ban may be in the works, as the Inquisitr reported in late November.
“Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. 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.”
Meanwhile, the largest manufacturer of bump stocks, Slide Fire Solution, has stopped taking orders for the devices — and has shut down its website.