Controversial Bump Stocks, Used in Las Vegas Shooting, Banned by Trump Administration

Posted on: December 19, 2018, 07:29h. 

Last updated on: December 19, 2018, 07:29h.

Bump stocks, the controversial accessory that allows semiautomatic weapons to fire quicker, are being banned by the Trump administration a little more than a year after they were used in the Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people.

bump stocks Las Vegas shooting
Bump stocks were found on the guns that were used by the Las Vegas shooter in October 2017. (Image: Las Vegas Metro Police/MGM Resorts/

Bump stocks “bump” the gun’s recoil to allow the machine to trigger faster. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had considered bump stocks an accessory, and therefore weren’t subjected to federal regulation. But following the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas massacre, President Donald Trump asked the Justice Department to reconsider bump stocks and outlaw the devices.

The DOJ now says bump stocks allow a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.” That classifies them as illegal machineguns under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said.

Once the ban is entered into the Federal Register, expected to happen this Friday, owners of bump stocks will have 90 days to turn them in at gun shops or destroy them.

Las Vegas Role

There’s still no concrete motive as to what drove gunman Stephen Paddock to assemble an arsenal of semiautomatic weapons in his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay suite, equip several of the guns with bump stocks, and begin shooting out two windows at a crowd of concertgoers across the Strip below.

The rampage took the lives of 58 victims, and injured hundreds of others. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

For 10 minutes, Paddock shot nearly continuously at the country music festival. The DOJ says without bump stocks, the death toll perhaps would have been lower.

The ATF estimates that between 280,000 and 520,000 bump stocks have been sold since 2010. There are opponents to outlawing the accessories.

They (federal government) were just looking for a scapegoat. And they found one,” Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark Aposhian told Fox News.

Women Against Gun Control founder Janalee Tobias added, “Guns are harder to get than they ever have been but evil people still get guns.”

Investigation Update

It’s been more than 14 months since the Las Vegas shooting, and the federal government still hasn’t issued its final report on the massacre. The FBI has missed several planned publication dates.

Metro Police closed its own investigation in August. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said many question had been answered, but the most important one — why — still has no definitive conclusion.

“By all accounts, Stephen Paddock was an unremarkable man,” Lombardo stated. “His movements leading up to October 1 did not raise any suspicion.”

The FBI’s report is expected to detail the forensic examinations of all the physical evidence recovered in Paddock’s suite, as well as an extensive medical autopsy and a study of his brain.

The odds of the FBI review settling on a definitive motive, however, are likely long.