Gun Control

Your Bipartisan Bump Stock Ban Has Arrived

The bill, sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, would ban much more than just bump stocks.


Rep. Carlos Curbelo
David Santiago/TNS/Newscom

The bipartisan gun control measure we told you would follow the horrific shooting October 1 in Las Vegas was introduced Tuesday in the House by a Republican and a Democrat, with exactly 10 members of each party co-sponsoring.

The bill drafted by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R–Fla.) and Seth Moulton (D– Mass.) intends to make illegal bump stocks or "any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle."

Binary triggers, which fires a round on both the pull and release of the trigger, would also likely be prohibited under this language, as would lighter triggers, and heavier recoil springs, both of which allow for a faster rate of fire.

What is shocking is just how broad the language of their bill is. The law promises to ban any part that increases the rate of fire from a semi-automatic weapon, meaning more than just bump stocks could be on the chopping block.

Curbelo said in a press release, "this common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights." The representative added that the bill was an "important first step to address gun violence."

It was also an important first step to getting member of the two major parties to agree with anything having to do with controlling guns. Prominent Republicans and Second Amendment advocates, including the National Rifle Association, got in line to make their peace with legislation following the tragic shooting that left at least 58 people dead and more than 515 wounded.

Investigators who found Stephen Paddock, dead in the Mandalay Bay hotel room where he did the shooting, found two dozen weapons, 12 of them rifles equipped with bump stocks—a device that uses recoil to increase the speed of firing a semi-automatic weapon.

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), a gun owner, was the first conservative to announce he would support a ban. Several other Republican lawmakers followed suit, with many more expressing an openness to hold hearings on the matter.

As Reason has pointed out, bump stocks are easy targets for politicians looking to "do something" about gun violence, and it is not surprising that they would be the subject of Curbelo and Moulton's bill. Some gun enthusiasts and retailers considered them a novelty—little known about until the shooting—and one that detracts from the functionality of a weapon by sacrificing accuracy for the speed of firing.

With the issue of a weapon's rate of fire on the table, there is every reason to believe lawmakers might consider amendments to add to the ban extended magazines, reloading aids, or anything else that allows a shooter to get rounds off more quickly.

This is the slippery slope uncompromising libertarians and conservatives worried about and liberals hoped Congress would find itself negotiating. And even if it passes unanimously, the bill brings the nation no closer to preventing what happened in Las Vegas.