Lawmakers introduced legislation this week that would add bump stocks and similar accessories to the National Firearms Act.
Known as the “Closing the Bump-Stock Loophole Act,” the bill would give the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the power to regulate “a reciprocating stock, or any other device which is designed to accelerate substantially the rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon” under the NFA.
In other words, purchasers of bump stocks would have to jump through all those annoying NFA hoops: registration, fingerprinting, background check, $200 tax stamp. Current owners of bump stocks would have one year from the bill’s enactment to do the same.
The “Closing the Bump-Stock Loophole Act” is the brainchild of Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and Congressman Dave Trott (R-MI).
“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 in a press release.
“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,” he continued.
“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,” Kildee concluded.
The Closing the Bump-Stock Loophole Act is not to be confused with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act. Introduced last month, Feinstein’s bill would outright ban bump stocks, trigger cranks and other accessories.
Congressman Trott argued that his bill presents a better way forward than the other gun control legislation to pop up in the aftermath of the shooting.
“This bill ends the cycle of knee-jerk legislation, hastily thrown together in the wake of these all too common tragedies,” said Trott.
“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,” he added.
It appears the ATF agrees. Or, at least the ATF Association agrees, which is comprised of former and current ATF agents.
“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,” said Michael Bouchard, President of the ATF Association.
“We urge Congress to support this bipartisan legislation and pass this bill,” he added.
The National Rifle Association, which has called for “additional regulations” on bump stocks and has recommended that the ATF “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” does not support this bill.
Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told the Washington Free Beacon that the bill is “overly broad” and “not limited to bump stocks.”
Noting that the ATF approved the bump stock during the Obama administration, Baker went on to say that ATF already has all the power it needs to regulate bump stocks.
“The NRA has called for the ATF to review its decision and determine whether these devices should be regulated differently,” said Baker. “Despite the false assertions being made by anti-gun politicians and lobbyists, this is within ATF’s regulatory authority.”
As noted in a previous GunsAmerica article, former ATF employees have repeatedly said that the agency does not have the authority to apply additional regs.
Anyways, we’ll see what comes of this bill. Feinstein’s ban seems to have fallen by the wayside. But there were rumblings this week that some form of bump stock ban may be included in the omnibus, pro-gun SHARE Act. No word yet, though, if that will actually materialize.