New Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Close “Bump Stock” Loophole
Bill Would Allow ATF, Law Enforcement Agencies to Regulate Bump Stock Devices
Four Members of Congress—two Republicans and two Democrats—today have introduced the Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act, new bipartisan legislation to close the “bump stock” loophole after a shooter in Las Vegas, using bump stock devices, killed 58 people and injured 489, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.
The measure, introduced by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) and Congressman Dave Trott (MI-11), would allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to immediately regulate bump stocks and functionally equivalent devices that substantially increase the rate of fire of a firearm in the same way it regulates machine guns and suppressors. The registration process for anyone in possession of or purchasing bump stock devices would include a rigorous background check, finger printing and a $200 registration fee.
Under the National Firearms Act, it is illegal for Americans to own fully automatic firearms and machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986. Due to a loophole in the law, however, bump stocks—devices attached to semi-automatic rifles that increase their rate of fire to that similar to machine guns—are currently legal and unregulated. ATF has said it does not currently have the legal authority to address bump stocks or similar devices and has urged Congress to act to remedy this problem.
“Four weeks ago, our country experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. As former law enforcement professionals, it is difficult to swallow the fact that the horror of this event was exacerbated by the bump stock, a device engineered to avoid regulation under federal law -- but unfortunately, it is not surprising. We are grateful to Representatives Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Titus and Trott for introducing this proposal that will regulate these dangerous weapons under the National Firearms Act, and for recognizing the need for Congress to act to keep American communities safe. We urge Congress to support this bipartisan legislation and pass this bill,” said Michael Bouchard, President of the ATF Association.
“This bipartisan legislation will block the availability of these and other dangerous devices, and demonstrates a serious bipartisan commitment to keeping our communities safe,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick, a former federal gun crimes prosecutor and FBI agent. “We must do everything in our power to prevent the kind of evil we see in horrifying incidents like the Las Vegas shootings, and resolve as a nation to confront this evil through meaningful, bipartisan legislative action and an ongoing commitment to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”
“After the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, Congress must act to prevent gun violence. This bill will not prevent all senseless gun deaths—rather, it seeks to address one dangerous loophole in existing law that allows anyone to acquire a bump stock, no questions asked. This bipartisan legislation will give law enforcement the ability to regulate bump stocks and keep them out of the hands of criminals and violent people. Such deadly devices that can turn firearms into fully-automatic machine guns have no place on America’s streets,” said Congressman Kildee.
“Following the October tragedy in my district, I vowed to study and draft solutions with members on both sides of the aisle to prevent future acts of gun violence in our nation’s communities,” said Congresswoman Titus. “Since then, Reps. Fitzpatrick, Kildee, Trott and I have developed a bipartisan bill to regulate bump stocks or similar devices the same as machine guns and the deadliest of weapons. I believe the majority of Americans would agree: Anyone who wants a device that modifies a firearm to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute should undergo thorough background checks and oversight. Congress must take meaningful action to address this national epidemic. We cannot stand in silence any longer.”
“In the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas, I promised my constituents that I would work on a legislative solution to close the loophole that allows legal semi-automatic firearms to be modified to perform like illegal fully-automatic weapons, and, today, my colleagues and I deliver. Most importantly, this bill ends the cycle of knee-jerk legislation, hastily thrown together in the wake of these all too common tragedies. Rather this is a proactive approach, that gives the ATF the regulatory flexibility it needs to hold these devices to the highest level of scrutiny while protecting Americans’ 2nd amendment right,” said Congressman Trott.