March 1, 2018 — Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) for introducing a bill to ban bump stocks. If passed, the bill would ban the future production and manufacture of bump stocks and require registration for all existing bump stocks under the National Firearms Act.
“In Las Vegas last fall, the use of bump stocks allowed a killer to turn into a killing machine,” said Robin Lloyd, Director of Government Affairs at Giffords. “These devices are incredibly lethal, and both law enforcement and gun law experts agree that they don’t belong on the streets of our nation. Americans have said loud and clear that the threat of bump stocks must be addressed by Congress. Finally, Democrats and Republicans have come together to show real leadership and take the necessary steps to introduce a bump stock bill that will save lives.”
In October 2017, a gunman in Las Vegas used multiple bump stock devices to convert semi-automatic rifles into weapons that fired nine shots per second, killing 58 people in only minutes. It was the deadliest mass shooting attack in modern history. Since then, more than a dozen states across the country have begun to take action to pass these dangerous devices. That includes Massachusetts and New Jersey where bills were signed into law by Republican officials with backing from Giffords, and Virginia, where a Republican Senate approved a bill.
After the Las Vegas shooting, Giffords and SiX Action, an advocacy organization committed to achieving change at the state level, released a state legislative toolkit for addressing bump stocks detailing legislative options for lawmakers who want to take action. States can protect their communities by looking to other legislation that has been enacted or introduced at the state and federal level.
Background information on bump stocks:
According to ATF, even when a bump stock is attached to a semi-automatic rifle, the gun is still not a machine gun, since the trigger has to function once for each bullet that leaves the barrel. This means that these deadly devices are not subject to federal registration requirements when they are manufactured or transferred. California law currently bans bump stocks and other devices under its multiburst trigger activators prohibition.
Even though they are not regulated like machine guns, bump stocks allow a person to hold a finger steady, and simply “bump” the gun against his or her shoulder back into the trigger. The person does not have to pull the trigger each time. Bump firing is the act of using the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire shots in rapid succession to simulate a fully automatic rate of fire.
Bump stocks—specialized rifle stocks that allow shooters to more accurately bump fire rifles without compromising accuracy—are legal to be sold and not regulated by the federal government. The Slide Fire® bump stock, for example, was ruled by ATF in 2010 as an accessory “intended to assist persons whose hands have limited mobility to Bump Fire an AR-15 type rifle” and did not qualify for regulation under the Gun Control Act of 1968 or National Firearms Act.
Mass shooters choose guns that allow for rapid-fire because they increase casualties. For example, the TEC DC-9 assault pistol used to kill eight and wound six in a mass shooting at the Pettit and Martin law firm in San Francisco in 1993 was equipped with a Hellfire trigger activator.