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YOU SHOULD KNOW: Federal bump stock ban now in effect

Current possessors of bump-stock-type devices must divest themselves of possession as of the effective date of the final rule.
Credit: ATF

TYLER, Texas — The federal ban on bump stocks is now officially in effect.

On February 20, 2018, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum instructing the officials “to dedicate all available resources to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”

In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machine gun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic long gun after a single pull of the trigger.

On December 18, 2018, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced the Department of Justice amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), clarifying bump stocks fall within the definition of “machine gun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

The final rule clarified the definition of “machine gun” in the GCA and NFA includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

IF YOU HAVE ONE

Current owners of bump-stock-type devices must divest themselves of possession as of the effective date of the final rule (March 26, 2019).

One option is to destroy the device, and the final rule identifies possible methods of destruction, to include completely melting, shredding, or crushing the device. Any method of destruction must render the device incapable of being readily restored to function.

Owners also have the option to abandon bump-stock-type devices at the nearest ATF office. ATF advises that it is best to make an appointment beforehand with the nearest ATF office.