The gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting was armed with 23 AR-style weapons, 14 of them fitted with ‘bump stocks’ that allowed them to mimic fully automatic fire, spraying thousands of rounds into a crowd of concertgoers.
The devices were little-known before they were used in the October 1 rampage that killed 58 people and left 851 injured at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip , making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
And in the immediate aftermath, there were calls from a wide spectrum of lawmakers and advocates to have the sale and possession of bump stocks banned.
Most notably, President Donald Trump vowed to ban the devices, which attach to the stock end of an AR-style firearm, greatly increasing the rate of fire so it mimics a fully automatic long gun.
Back in 2010, the government determined that bump stocks couldn’t be regulated unless Congress changed the law.
Trump in March tweeted: ‘Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period.’
The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this spring did seek public comment on a proposal to reclassify bump stocks, but no action has been taken.
But as with many restrictions on firearms in recent years, more action has taken place at the state level than by the federal government.
Ten states and three cities, among them New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Denver and Columbia, South Carolina, have enacted bans on the devices.
California made ‘multi-burst trigger activators,’ which include bump stocks, illegal in 1990.
In Colorado, a state rocked by the 1999 Columbine High School and 2012 Aurora theater mass shootings, lawmakers in the divided Legislature refused to compromise.
The Democratic-controlled House passed bills to ban bump stocks and enact a red flag law that had the support of many police officers and prosecutors. But the Republican-controlled Senate quickly assigned those to a “kill’ committee and defeated them.
TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS INVOLVING BUMP STOCKS IN US:
Notable events in the US involving bump stocks, the device used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre to allow guns to fire like fully automatic firearms:
: California bans ‘multi-burst trigger activators,’ which include bump stocks.
: Massachusetts enacts ban on bump stocks.
: Columbia, South Carolina, enacts ban.
: New Jersey ban signed into law.
: Denver City Council bans bump stocks.
: Washington state enacts ban.
: Florida enacts ban along with host of other gun-control measures.
: President Donald Trump tweets: ‘Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period.’
: Lincoln, Nebraska, enacts ban.
: The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seeks public comments on a proposed change to federal regulations on bump stocks.
: Vermont enacts ban.
: Slide Force Solutions, the leading manufacturer of bump stocks, announces it is shuttering its business and will stop taking orders as of May 20.
: Maryland enacts ban.
: Connecticut enacts ban.
: Rhode Island enacts ban.
: Delaware enacts ban.
: The comment period on the proposed ATF rule change closes.
: Hawaii enacts ban.
: RW Arms, a Texas-based company, announces it will start selling the leftover stock of bump stocks from Slide Force Solutions.
‘To me, the Second Amendment and individual rights demand the highest respect. That’s the basis of where I come from,’ said Republican Sen. Tim Neville, one of the capitol’s most ardent gun rights activists.
In Florida, where the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 14 students and three staff members Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a bill into law banning bump stocks, raising the gun buying age to 21, imposing a three-day waiting period for purchases and authorizing police to seek court orders seizing guns from individuals who are deemed threats to themselves and others.
Slide Fire Solutions, America’s largest bump stock manufacturer, closed its website in June and stopped taking orders. However, its remaining stock of the devices is now being sold by another company, RW Arms, based in Fort Worth, Texas.
Gun owners and enthusiasts frequently call bump stocks a novelty item. Gun dealers said very few of the devices were sold before the Las Vegas shooting, but demand soared afterward amid concern they might be banned.