Justice Department to clarify bump stock regulations

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Allen Breed / AP

In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, an employee of North Raleigh Guns demonstrates how a “bump” stock works at the Raleigh, N.C., shop.

Published Tue, Dec 5, 2017 (1:32 p.m.)

Updated Tue, Dec 5, 2017 (3:29 p.m.)

A review of the rapid-fire devices used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas is underway, according to federal officials.

The Department of Justice announced today that it would begin a “regulatory clarification” with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine whether bump stocks fall under strict restrictions on machine guns.

Lawmakers introduced bills in Congress to ban or otherwise regulate bump stocks after 58 people were killed in the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas. Bump stocks were found in the shooter’s room and were used to make semiautomatic rifles fire more like machine guns.

“Possessing firearm parts that are used exclusively in converting a weapon into a machine gun is illegal, except for certain limited circumstances,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition.”

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who has signed onto several measures seeking to ban or restrict bump stocks, said the “best solution would be Congress passing my bills.”

Her office says she does not trust the Trump administration to make the appropriate fix when it comes to regulating the devices.

Titus testified in Congress today in support of removing a provision recognizing concealed-carry permits across state lines from a bill to strengthen the national firearms background check system.

Titus said she could not believe Congress was looking at expanding access to concealed weapons rather than banning bump stocks.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., pointed to a tweet when asked about the bump stock review.

“This lengthy regulatory process could take years,” Cortez Masto said via Tiwtter. “We cannot afford to wait while bump stocks remain legal in our communities. Congress should act now.”

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