Efforts to ban “bump stocks” have come to a halt, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives once again indicating it does not have the authority to reclassify and regulate the devices, reports Roll Call. The ATF said both in 2010 and 2013 that the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National Firearms Act of 1934 do not provide an avenue for the bureau to regulate the gun attachments, which enable shooters to fire semiautomatic weapons at nearly the rate of automatic ones. Now that has not changed. “The ATF does NOT have the authority to address bump-fire stocks — and has made this point clear to Congress MULTIPLE times,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) tweeted after lawmakers were briefed by the bureau.
Feinstein reintroduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act this month to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of bump stocks and similar devices. She has been working to secure a GOP co-sponsor for her bill but hasn’t found any takers. “She’s also working to ensure senators understand the need for legislation and that ATF can’t address this issue on its own,” an aide said. “The [National Rifle Association] has claimed otherwise in an attempt to muddy the waters.” The NRA surprised gun control advocates when it said bump stocks and similar devices “should be subject to additional regulations.” The NRA said that was an issue best left to the ATF — which lacks the legal authority to act on it. Lawmakers renewed interest in bump stocks after the Las Vegas shooting— the deadliest in U.S. history — on Oct. 1, when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers and slaughtered 58 people and injured more than 500 others. Investigators found 12 rifles in Paddock’s 32nd-floor hotel room fitted with bump stocks.