Justice Department proposes banning bump stocks

Days before the one-year anniversary of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, the Department of Justice is proposing to ban bump stocks, a device used by the Las Vegas gunman to accelerate the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles, the Review-Journal has learned.

In February, President Donald Trump directed his administration to review bump stock regulations in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and another mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. He directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to produce “a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine-guns.”

In late March, the Justice Department published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register and sought public comment. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the regulation has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review — the final step before it takes effect….

The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, Slide Fire Solutions shut down its online store in June and the company no longer takes orders for the devices.

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The National Rifle Association said after the Oct. 1 shooting that it supported additional bump stock regulations. However, Gun Owners of America executive director Erich Pratt opposed the Justice Department move.

“The ban is not going to stop criminal activity,” Pratt warned, “but it will allow a future anti-gun administration to easily expand these regulations to ban AR-15s and other semiautomatic firearms.”

According to The Trace, a “nonprofit newsroom” that reports on gun violence, 85 percent of the 32,000 comments the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received on the proposed bump stock ban opposed more regulation.

A version of the proposed rule change published in the Federal Register noted that owners of legally purchased bump stocks “will be obligated to dispose of those devices.”

If bump-stock owners keep the devices, Pratt warned, they could be “treated as owning an unregistered machine gun.”

Gun Owners of America plans to challenge the regulation in court. “We’ve already been planning for this eventuality,” Pratt said.

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