The federal ban on bump stocks may be unlawful and needs to be put on hold, according to a ruling by a divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Michigan.
Bump stocks are devices that are attached to semi-automatic rifles that allow them to mimic a fully automatic weapon. They work by harnessing the gun’s recoil energy to quickly move the firearm back and forth. This bumps the shooter’s stationary finger right up against the trigger so it can be fired far faster. Some semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump stocks are capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute.
They were first created to help people with disabilities to fire guns more easily. They were approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2010, and the government has estimated that more than half a million of them have been sold since then. The bureau maintained at the time that bump stocks did not convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic ones in a way that made them equivalent to machine guns.
However, bump stocks became a hot topic of conversation after the mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas in 2017, where a gunman using semiautomatic rifles equipped with bump stocks killed 58 people. In response, President Trump instituted a ban on the devices.
Civilians are generally banned from owning machine guns that were manufactured after May 1986, and this includes any parts that can be used to convert a legal firearm into an illegal machine gun. A machine gun is defined in this case as a weapon that fires “automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”
The ATF later issued a rule in which they reinterpreted the terms “single function of the trigger” as well as “automatically” in order to ban bump stocks. Read more…