Gun Control

Trump Endorses a Ban on Bump Stocks

The once obscure device may not be long for this world.


Abaca Press/Douliery Olivier/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom

In the wake of last week's shooting Parkland Florida—which left 17 people dead—President Donald Trump announced his intention to ban bump stocks.

"Just a few moments ago I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns," said Trump in a public address Tuesday afternoon, "I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon" addressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions directly.

The President's memo demands that the Department of Justice complete an ongoing review of whether bump stocks—a device which greatly increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon—are currently prohibited by current federal laws restricting machine guns.

Once an obscure novelty item derided by most firearms enthusiasts for reducing accuracy, bump stocks have since been elevated to the center of the national debate on gun control following last year's shooting in Las Vegas. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was found in possession of 12 bump stock-equipped rifles.

Given the death toll from the Las Vegas shooting—with some 58 people killed, and many hundreds wounded—and the relative unpopularity of bump stocks among gun owners, a bipartisan consensus quickly grew around prohibiting or restricting the device.

Arch-gun control advocate Sen. Diane Feinstein (D – Calif.) announced a bill banning bump stocks within days of the shooting. This was followed by a string of Republican lawmakers—including Rep. Bill Flores (R – Texas), Speaker Paul Ryan (R – Wisc.), and Sen. Rob Portman (R – Ohio)—all expressing an openness to some sort of bump stock ban. White House advisor Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN, blaming the Obama Administration for not banning the device, and the National Rifle Association expressed tepid support for "additional regulations."

Since 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) sent multiple opinion letters to bump stock manufacturers saying the devices are outside its authority to regulate. In a 2013 letter to Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D – Colo.) the Bureau stated that it "does not have the authority to restrict their lawful possession, use, or transfer" of bump stocks.

Nevertheless, Trump's DOJ issued a press release on December 5, 2017 stating that the Department would be reinterpreting the definition of machine-gun in federal firearms statutes to see if bump stocks would be included after all.

"Possessing firearm parts that are used exclusively in converting a weapon into a machine gun is illegal," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in that press release. "Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition."

That process is still underway. Trump's memo essentially directs Sessions, provided the DOJ review of regulations determines bump stocks can be banned after all, to develop rules doing just that.

Given the mounting pressure to "do something" following the most recent Parkland shooting, the lack of strong conservative opposition to their prohibition, bump stocks have become an easy target of new federal firearms restrictions.

Despite it's popularity however, it's hard to see how a bump stock ban would improve public safety. The device's impact on the Las Vegas shooting's death toll is questionable. No mass shooters before or since have used the device.

Shootings like the one that happened in Florida last week, or in Las Vegas last year, are no doubt horrific, but banning bump stocks will likely do nothing to prevent such terrible events from happening again.

NEXT: Admitting You Smoked Pot Can Get You Bounced From White House Job

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  1. Strangely, I’m not much against watching Democrats and the gun control movement ban something stupid. Go ahead, spend all your energy on this. And Russians, keep spending your energy looking for Reds under the bedclothes. It’ll keep you out of mischief.

    1. You mean watching President Trump and AG Sessions banning bump stocks?

      1. Do you pity the fool?

      2. Sure. I presume it’s a bone thrown to them by the trump administration. As fist commented below, sacrifice somethingon the altar of do- something.

        1. sacrifice somethingon the altar of do- something.


          1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

            This is what I do…

  2. There. We’ve made our sacrifice on the Altar of Do Something. Are you people happy now?

    1. Unlikely …

    2. Is the gesture meaningful or token?

      1. It’s a token, that is if you know anything about firearms.

      2. Tony|2.20.18 @ 8:43PM|#
        “Is the gesture meaningful or token?”

        It’s a token Tony. Dedicated to dimbulbs like you who prefer symbolism to actual result.
        You want it, You got it!

        1. If we can ban the scary black plastic guns, we’ve obviously solved the problem!

      3. Shhh, Sevo. Tony, this is an egregious violation of our gun rights!!! I will not stand for this!

  3. The ratchet here only goes in one direction.

    1. They can put in a sunset clause.

  4. But the legally purchased bump stocks are grandfathered in?

    1. Or homemade ones that consist of a shoelace and keyring?

      1. The ATF already considers those to be machine guns, which means they are Title II weapons regulated by the NFA. It’s a felony to “manufacture” one without a license, and the machine gun registry has been closed since 1986, meaning no new ones can be registered.

        They’re basically trying to put bump stocks in the same category.

        1. Also, somewhat ironically, AR-15s are one of the few semi-automatic rifles that can’t be turned into a “machine gun” using the shoelace method, because it has a non-reciprocating bolt, which is required to make it work.

          1. He means using a belt loop and your thumb to bump fire.


  5. No wall, not even a foot, no indictments, and now he’s endorsing open borders Romney and banning bump stocks? I am off the Trump train, that’s it for me


  7. Im not sure how they could ban them using existing regulations. The existing language considers a machine gun to be a firearm that discharges multiple projectiles per pull of the trigger. The shoelace and keyring thing referenced above accomplishes this. Slidefire stocks do not. Belt loops and hip firing do not. Rubber bands on ARs do not. So theyre going to have to completely change the definition of what a machine gun is,

    1. With an “or” and gymnastics of creative English.

      1. With an “or” and gymnastics of creative English.

        So, the same way the progressives do everything?

    2. This is why I took this to be a (likely) token gesture. In the ‘most transparent administration in history’ sense the plain letter reading says that, after LV, the ATF agreed to re-visit/evaluate the notion of bump stocks being reclassified without any indication that it would come to a different conclusion. The Trump Administration, in the name of doing something, is telling them to do it faster (which, implementing the existing policy would be the fastest thing they could do).

      I don’t disagree that, from a pro-2A and/or anti-Trump stance, this hypothetical is optimistic.

    3. I have a guitar peg winder [!] that will fit in one of my gun’s trigger guard and when rotated will “pull” the trigger twice per revolution, which means that a piece of wood shaped in a certain way plus a cheap Harbor Freight battery drill would do the trick, possible better (more accurate) than a bump stock.
      The real issue is intent; I don’t like to shoot more than one round at a time, ‘cuz I’m trying to get all of my projectiles through the same hole [one can dream]. Unless people are in a corral situation (Vegas) it doesn’t really matter anyway.
      So banning “bump stocks” does nothing to prevent bad guys from doing bad things. Of course, no law ever does.

  8. When Obama suggested this wingnuts went into conniption fits.

    1. They’ll just pretend it never happened.

    2. Who cares?

      What an inane comment.

      1. Polite society is obliged to ignore raging hypocrites.

        1. Then why are you still sharing your opinion?

          1. I am no hypocrite. I am simply smarter than most of the others and thus find corners of nuance they don’t even know exist.

            1. “I am no hypocrite”

              That’s what all you hypocrites tell yourself

              1. Hey! Past Me is at least trying, you sanctimonious dickhead!

                1. Blue-on-blue trolling is best trolling.

            2. Tony|2.20.18 @ 9:02PM|#
              “I am no hypocrite. I am simply smarter than most of the others”

              You’re a lying piece of shit who offers an honest argument once every decade. The rest is lie, after lie, after lie when you aren’t moving the goal posts, changing the subject, claiming someone said something they didn’t, or involved in some other attempt at deception.
              Your are a lying piece of shit.

      2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.18.18 @ 11:12AM|#

        Yep. The half-educated, downscale, superstitious, economically inadequate, gullible, bigoted yahoos from our can’t-keep-up towns are going to win next time.

        I guess this is what enables southerners and rural goobers to get through the next miserable day in their shambling lives and depleted backwaters.

        Carry on, clingers.
        Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.18.18 @ 11:15AM|#

        Since any infringement of the 2nd Amendment to ban guns or require registration is unconstitutional
        Precisely the level of legal insight to be expected from someone with an Asperger’s diagnosis and a Republican voter registration card instead of a law license.

        Did you forget to sign out of your fake account?

        1. I’m going to laugh at you again when you realize how stupid you are.

          1. Distended Rectum vs. Pedophile Priest.

            I’m not sure who to root for.

            1. I’m not sure who to root for.

              You could “root for” Almanian!

              He’s not alive, RT.

              However, if I recall correctly, he did claim that he might be less harmful should he be elected to the presidency than the other aspirants who were campaigning at the time.

              1. “However, if I recall correctly, he did claim that he might be less harmful should he be elected to the presidency than the other aspirants who were campaigning at the time.”

                One of the few honest candidates.
                I believe his campaign was based on ‘I’m not as bad as they are.’

              2. [pours some Coconut-flavored La Croix on the ground in Almanian’s honor]

                1. shut the fuck up Hihn

        2. It’s a capital I you incredibly stupid fuck.

    3. Allow me to oblige you: Trump is stupid for proposing this.

    4. Palin’s Buttplug|2.20.18 @ 7:45PM|#
      “When Obama suggested this wingnuts went into conniption fits.”

      For good reason.
      As an ignoramus, he’d have pushed some whacko legislation which outlawed anything that had a “stock” without the slightest idea he was doing so.
      We now have someone who is either
      1) Extremely clever in promoting anti-lefty policies.
      2) Not real smart and is VERY lucky in doing so.
      I’ll take it.

  9. Next up on the BATFE hit list: binary triggers and trigger jobs.
    “trigger pull must feel like there is broken glass in the action to be classified as sporting”

    1. All triggers must be 100 pound pull.

      1. Kahr corners the handgun market

      2. ^ Like

      3. All triggers must be 100 pound pull.

        And, for those of us who could conceivably crush a 100 lb. trigger, no less than 3s cycle time.

      4. On a serious note, are there limits to modifying your trigger pull weight now? If so, I presume old guns from before any such legislation are grandfathered.

        Was wondering because this made me think of my great great great granddad’s old rifle, which has the lightest trigger I’ve ever seen in my life. It actually could and has gone off by being shaken while loaded.

        1. On a serious note, are there limits to modifying your trigger pull weight now?

          Only regionally or competitively and/or civilly. From a historical/practical perspective, you couldn’t generate such a regulation as a double-action revolver can effectively have two pull weights. Arguably for many guns the safety is just a trigger with a 10,000 lbs. pull.

  10. Wasn’t it only recently that we were about to get BATFE out of the business of supervising our use of suppressors?

    I bet there are voice mails from McConnell and Ryan that Trump hasn’t heard yet.

    On the one hand, I was hoping Trump wouldn’t give in to the urge to short our Second Amendment rights in response to tragedy.

    On the other hand, Hillary wouldn’t have let any of these crises go to waste. Hillary proudly campaigned on a promise to violate our Second Amendment rights.

    Goes to show that just because Trump isn’t as good as we’d like him to be, that doesn’t mean he’s just as bad as the alternative.

      You’re right Ken, he’s just… what we got.

      1. So far better than expected, and MUCH better than Hillary. Trump has only some of Hillary’s disadvantages. He’s at least entertaining some of the time. Hillary is grim death.

      2. So far better than expected, and MUCH better than Hillary. Trump has only some of Hillary’s disadvantages. He’s at least entertaining some of the time. Hillary is grim death.

  11. I endorse the bump stock ban. I also endorse the dreamers getting citizenship, provided they can not vote in any election for 15 years. The illegality of their arrival can not be a bonanza for the Democrat Party.

    I would also support legislation to make it illegal for anyone under age 27.5 to possess a semi-automatic firearm or any handgun. The exception would be active duty military or police, or veterans with honorable discharges. Another exception would allow females older than 16 who have received a protection order to possess a handgun, provided they have completed an emergency 3 hr safety course by a certified trainer. No male can claim to be a female for this purpose unless he has undergone significant surgery.

    I support nationwide institution of vagrancy laws, with the purpose of removing all the chronically homeless to expanded mental hospitals and/or job skills training work camps within secure lockdown perimeters. Once committed, people who improve their habits and behaviors can petition for hearings for release. However, the judges at these hearings will have accurate recidivism results of their decisions published and will be personally liable for civil damages.

    I specify “accurate” because most recidivism statistics are highly skewed mathematics. Torture statistics enough and they will confess to anything.

    1. Good intentions straight to hell.

    2. I think you’re looking for Alternet.

    3. “The exception would be active duty military or police”


      1. ^ and this. Of course, WHY THIS???

        1. And even weirder “veterans with an honorable discharge”.

          Otherwise I think it’s not a bad proposition.

      2. “”The exception would be active duty military or police”
        Yeah, I got stuck in the draft for Vietnam. The claim was I ‘owed the country’ for my freedom.
        Well, no. My freedom is mine by birthright; I owe nobody anything for that.
        Now you might try to sell me on the proposition that some foreign power is attempting to take that birthright away, and it is in my best interest to fight for that, but serving as a government slave ain’t that.

    4. You’re a real piece of… work. You know that?
      Citizenship with no voting representation… um ok.
      Arbitrary ages much, like 16, 18, 21, etc.
      Where, exactly are these “expanded mental hospitals” of which you speak?
      State work camps? REALLY?

    5. Epic troll is epic.

    6. “I also endorse the dreamers getting citizenship, provided they can not vote in any election for 15 years. ”

      If you acknowledge that their voting pattern today is a problem, why do you think it won’t be in 15 years?

      1. This is why I would oppose even a 15 year delay. It’s not going to change, because in general these people vote as a bloc. That won’t change in 15 years. Stats indicate it doesn’t change in generations.

  12. From the Women’s March Twitter: It’s not just about money… The NRA is directly tied to the rise in white supremacy in the U.S.

    Yet another reason we need to defeat the NRA and all its bought and paid for puppets. Not only is gun safety legislation a matter of common sense, it’s also essential to libertarianism as a whole. Think about it. NRA = white supremacy = anti-immigrant attitudes. So by defeating the NRA we’re also helping the cause of open borders.

    1. Yep, OBL. All the true rock-ribbed Glenn Beck libertarians know that the movement of people should be restricted to their native racial lands.

      1. Glenn Beck libertarians

        It’s fascinating that after all this time, you still don’t know what a libertarian is.

        That probably explains why you always laughably claim to be one.

        1. Psssssss.

          I have been mocking “Glenn Beck libertarians” here for at least eight years.

          1. Yes, that’s the point you missed.


    3. Hey, OBL! Good to see you again. I missed you.

    4. This makes me hungry for cabbage rolls. It must be the Russian in me.

    5. “It’s not just about money… The NRA is directly tied to the rise in white supremacy in the U.S.”

      There’s a reason the voting age is higher than 15.

      1. LOL. That’s like saying the US marines are tied directly to the rise of the 3rd Reich: The NRA helped train and arm Civil Rights marchers.

  13. He is now a Swamp Thing.

  14. The President’s memo demands that the Department of Justice complete an ongoing review of whether bump stocks?a device which greatly increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon?are currently prohibited by current federal laws restricting machine guns.


    They’re not. The ATF technical and legal people have already studied and officially weighed in on this (before LV shooting)

    1. I think maybe you missed the nuance in “Maybe we could take another look at this. Hint, hint.” Taking another look quite often reveals new evidence that somehow got left in the trunk of somebody’s car or tucked in the back of an old filing cabinet or something. And never let it be said that politicians won’t change their opinions based on new evidence – although usually the new evidence consists of a poll showing how many votes their old opinion is likely to cost them.

      1. But taking another look can also be a way to just run out the clock while people calm down and start thinking again.

        Basically the current regulatory stance on bump stocks and related devices is solidly dictated by statutory text. I’m not saying that regulators never get away with violating the text of the statutes with their regulations, but this case is awfully clear.

        Further, Trump has a clear understanding of who is part of his base, and who isn’t, and likely understands that gun control laws piss off the former, while the latter will just take the win and continue hating him.

  15. “Florida survivors, lawmakers on collision course over guns”
    PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) ? Students who survived the Florida school shooting began a journey Tuesday to the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to prevent another massacre, but within hours the gun-friendly Legislature had effectively halted any possibility of banning assault-style rifles like the one used in the attack.”

    You can find it on your fave AP feed.
    There are good reasons for the Constitution, and this is yet one more example.

    1. So are the students still on their way to Miami to confront the state legislature?

      1. But Tallashee (sp.) is the capital city of Florida.

        1. The public education system failed them again

      2. “So are the students still on their way to Miami to confront the state legislature?”
        RT, this could be a cogent comment.
        But even if not, yeah. And of course, they are paying their own way, arranged it themselves, wrote all the serious essays.
        No way they are being used as props in political theater. Nope. No way!

        1. “No way they are being used as props in political theater. Nope. No way!”

          It’s very unsettling seeing all the strange pathos that emerges after a shooting. I think despite the efforts of these young people, Florida is not going to be changing many gun laws. Maybe a little political activism will be good for them, but I think their time would be better spent working through their trauma doing something that is likely to make a tangible impact.

          OT: As a general FYI, I got a newsletter from a local 2A group whose leader was invited to do a short interview about firearms which led him to discover a very bizarre, highly-organized effort to potentially discredit him as an advocate. If it wasn’t coming from this person in particular I’d call BS on it. He’s extremely cool-headed and patient, and he never gets the least bit mad even when confronted with outright lies. That he of all people was coaxed into a snafu is disconcerting. He confirmed one case of a nationally-known firearms instructor experiencing similar, and he’s heard of others unofficially. I know it sounds crazy, but don’t consent to an interview that you can’t record for yourself. There are few good-faith reasons for such a restriction.

          1. One reason I’m not all that concerned about the march is because of people like this dude who survived the shooting and is speaking out against the politicization. Unlike almost everyone screaming for more controls, he’s actually had an, “aha!” moment where he realized that having a gun for defense is a worthwhile idea. When the seconds counted, the cops were only minutes away!

            Despite the best efforts of their elders who’ve never experienced anything as traumatic, some of these kids will become perennial defenders of the 2A. They won’t get much airtime because they’re the wrong kind of victim (?), but they definitely matter.

            1. “They won’t get much airtime because they’re the wrong kind of victim (?), but they definitely matter.”

              They don’t matter to the legacy press, and the Tonys of the world.
              It is unfortunate that dealing with such imbeciles (the LP and the Tonys) in logical terms is nearly impossible, but we are fortunate in having A-2.
              The enumerated rights were only a start, and while I’m glad we have them, it is unfortunate that they do suggest to dimbulbs (the LP and Tonys) that our freedoms are granted by the gov’t.

            2. “”When the seconds counted, the cops were only minutes away!”‘

              What I find funny is that they say there is no good guy with a gun and that having a gun at the school is wrong, but they call 911 and expect guns to show up on demand. Since the end result is getting more people with guns to come to the school when a shooting occurs, why not try to lower the body count by lowering the response time by having guns already there?

              The notion that guns are bad period is the talk of hypocrites. The people that say that expect to dial three numbers and have a guy with a gun show up on demand.

          2. “I know it sounds crazy, but don’t consent to an interview that you can’t record for yourself.”

            I’ve mentioned this circumstance before:
            I owned a known, specific ‘collectable’. A buff-book sent a writer to chronicle my efforts at preserving it.
            A week or so later, I was contacted by a ‘fact checker’ from the magazine; she was given chapter and verse of the written provenance.
            When the article finally came out (this was the ’70s of the last century; it took a while), they spelled my name right.

  16. ‘WAY OT. Management report to investors this week regarding a restaurant of which we are part owners:
    When we first considered buying in, the managers (very experienced) poo-poo’d the idea that the proposed $15M/W would have a major effect on labor costs. I was less sanguine, but it still looked good, and others were going to be sharing those costs.
    Well, we’ve had a couple of meetings (as it was not as immediately profitable as hoped) wherein I pointed out that the way to profitability is cutting costs, not raising revenue; 30% of revenue immediately goes to the government. Lower costs go in your pocket.
    Finally, revenue is up, and more importantly costs are well down, and it is now profitable. The management is now keeping an eye on tables and staff. Once the table-count falls below X, the staff is cut by Y. Right now, Mack the Knife.
    So, all you folks several steps up from the M/W numbers you supported, since ‘It’s easy to run a business and make money’ and ‘They deserve it’, guess what?
    Those are YOUR hours being cut to support that M/W. Are you happy now?
    And you bet, blame me, the investor, since I told them to cut you hours. Go ahead, hope it makes you feel good.
    But if they didn’t, I’d have told them to pull the plug and your wages would now be the real M/W: $0.00/hr.

  17. People will just print one when they want one.

  18. Stupid, but if it’s just investigating whether they can do it under existing law, the answer is “no”.

  19. Why don’t we just call them trump stocks? That’s two puns for the price of one.

    1. The most informative post on buying Ripple I’ve ever seen.

      I bet I can make $2,000 a week doing that!

  20. Bump stocks do not turn a semi-automatic into a machine gun.
    I know there were bumpstocks in the LV shooter’s room, but I never saw where they were on a weapon actually used.
    If the issue is going to become rate of fire, then bolt actions rifles with fixed magazines are next on the dock.
    The mad minute was a British shooting technique that often had German soldiers reporting machine guns in trench positions were there were no machine guns.
    The Short Magazine Lee Enfield is a World War I (remember, the war to end all war?) bolt action rifle with a 10 round fixed magazine. It is rated with a rate of fire of 20 to 30 aimed rounds a minute.
    The practice was described as; “Lying. Rifle to be loaded and 4 rounds in the magazine before the target appears. Loading to be from the pouch or bandolier by 5 rounds afterwards. One minute allowed”
    Military record: The first Mad Minute record was set by Sergeant Major Jesse Wallingford in 1908, scoring 36 hits on a 48 inch target at 300 yards (4.5 mils/ 15.3 moa).
    Civilian record: A Mad Minute event was held in Soknedal, Norway, on 30 May 2015 featuring some of the best stang shooters in the country. The competition was called the “Mad Minute Challenge”, and was shot at a round 400 mm diameter target at 200 meters (2 mils/ 6.9 moa), making the target smaller than original. The winner, Thomas H?g?sseter, scored 36 hits.

  21. There will be no bans. Trump is giving lefties TDS material and the left falls for it every time.


  22. I don’t really care about bump stocks. Shit, until last year I didn’t even know the damn things existed. But if Trump thinks this is going to placate the antigunners he’s sadly deluded. Their idea of “compromise” is “we’ll take half a loaf–for now, then come back for the other half next time”.

    1. You’re not wrong, but are bump stocks, whatever they are, the difference between being a check on government power or not? I’m pretty sure that ship sailed a long time ago.

  23. Still, It’s easy to see why banning bump stocks is popular. It gives both gun rights advocates and gun control proponents an excuse to say they are doing something about gun violence without paying a political price.

  24. The federal government does not have general police powers.

    There does not seem to be an enumerated power that would give the feds the power to ban bump stocks in toto.

  25. I am eager to see how the Dumb Trumpkins put a positive spin on this.

  26. Wow, so much anti-2A sentiment in these comments. I actually thought I wasn’t on Reason. It used to be libertarians ganging up on dipshit cosmotarian authors on here.

    Now I see the cosmotarians rule the roost :-/

  27. It would be no harm to gun rights if bump stocks were banned by specific new legislation, especially if it were a clean bill. However, if it’s done by an executive order, it’s inviting the next anti-gun president to start asking his AG to ban things left and right.

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