CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"Can the Trump Administration Ban Bump Stocks?"

Jonathan Adler has this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. In part:

At first it may seem that bump stocks can be covered because the definition expresslys include parts that can be used to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic one -- but not so fast. The problem is that the language of the statute also specifies that what makes a weapon a machine gun is the ability to fire more than one shot automatically "by a single function of the trigger." This describes how fully automatic weapons work, but it does not describe how bump stocks operate.

While bump stocks facilitate rapid firing, they do so by rapidly and repeatedly engaging the trigger, not by enabling true automatic fire, a point Robert VerBruggen makes at NRO. In other words, a bump stock is not something that enables true automatic fire as defined by the statute. It is for this reason that bump stocks of the sort used by the Las Vegas shooter were not regulated as machineguns by the Obama Administration, which considered the question in 2013.

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