This past Wednesday, October 4th, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S.1916 – Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act – in response to the Las Vegas mass casualty event. As of today, the bill has 38 co-sponsors. All the co-sponsors are Democrats with the exception of Bernie Sanders who is still listed as an Independent.
The operative part of the bill reads:
(v)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and
after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment
of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to
import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank,
a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts,
component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-
automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle
into a machinegun.
The prohibition would not apply to any agency or department of the United States or to those of any state or local government. The full text of the bill is here.
As I’ve said many a time when it comes to legislation, the devil is in the details. More importantly, it will be in how the courts and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives choose to interpret any part, etc. that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-auto rifle.
I foresee that items like the Franklin Armory binary trigger systems would be banned under this bill even though not explicitly named. Where I think it will get dicey is with springs and drop-in triggers. Will a stronger trigger return spring or a lighter hammer spring be considered items that function to accelerate the rate of fire? Would anything that makes for a smoother and/or lighter trigger pull fall under the rubric of this bill?
Indeed, would using a rubber band from an office supply store (or that your mail is banded with by the USPS) be prohibited by this bill? SayUncle has a number of examples of bump firing without using any of the explicitly banned items.
I attended the local gun show yesterday. In my 3 hours there, I saw only one person with a Slide-Fire stock. I don’t know if he had just bought it or had it with him to sell.
Bump fire stocks are novelty items in my opinion. I don’t have a need for one nor do I intend to buy one. That said, I think this bill needs to be killed. No bill introduced within days of a serious tragedy is meant to address the problems behind the tragedy. They are strictly to make political hay. This bill in particular is meant to stick it to the gun culture. The all encompassing weasel words after trigger crank and bump-fire device are so open for interpretation that you won’t know what is legal and what is not. That is just not good legislation.
H/T Tiffany Johnson for the link to the bill’s text.