Bump fire

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A Slide Fire Solutions bump fire stock on a WASR-10 rifle

Bump fire is the act of using the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm or double-action revolver to fire bullets in rapid succession, but with a loss of accuracy. Bump stocks or bump fire stocks are gun stocks that can be used to assist in bump firing.

Bump fire stocks[edit]

A bump stock permits the trigger (red) to be held down when the receiver moves forward, being reset each round by receiver recoil. This allows semi-automatic firearms to somewhat mimic fully automatic weapons.

Bump fire stocks are gun stocks that are specially designed to make bump firing easier, which assist semi-automatic firearms with somewhat mimicking the firing motion of fully automatic weapons but does not make the firearm automatic.[1] Essentially, bump stocks assist rapid fire by "throwing" the trigger against one's finger (as opposed to one's finger pulling on the trigger) thus allowing the firearm's recoil, plus constant forward pressure by the non-shooting arm, to actuate the trigger. Bump fire stocks can be placed on a few common weapon platforms such as the AR or AK families. They can achieve rates of fire between 400 and 500 rounds per minute depending on the gun.[2] By 2018, bump fire stocks in the United States would sell for around $100 and up, with prices increasing prior to enactment of federal regulation.[3][2]

Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor, patent holder, and leading manufacturer of bump stocks, suspended sales after bump stocks were used in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and resumed sales a month later.[4][5] On May 20, 2018, Slide Fire Solutions permanently halted sales and production of its products.[6]

History of regulation[edit]

In 2002, one of the first bump stock-type devices, the Akins Accelerator invented by Bill Akins, was deemed by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to not be a "machinegun". The Akins Accelerator used an internal spring to force the firearm forward to re-make contact with the trigger finger after the recoil of the previous shot pushed the firearm rearward.[7][8] The ATF interpreted a "single function of the trigger" to mean a "single movement of the trigger", and since the trigger moved for each shot, the Akins Accelerator was deemed to not be a machinegun.[8] Later, in 2006, the ATF reversed course and reinterpreted the language to mean "single pull of the trigger", which reclassified the Akins Accelerator as a machinegun. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the new interpretation in February 2009.[9]

More modern bump stocks were invented by Slide Fire Solutions founder Jeremiah Cottle as a replacement stock for people who have limited hand mobility. Such bump stocks have no internal spring and require constant forward pressure by the non-shooting arm in order to maintain continuous fire.[8] Between 2008 and 2017, the ATF issued ten letter rulings that classified bump stocks as a "firearm part", which are unregulated.[10][11] However, in March 2018, as a result of the use of bump stocks in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a plan to reclassify bump stocks as "machineguns" under existing federal law, effectively[Note 1] banning them nationwide.[12][13] Only two states had banned bump stocks prior to the Las Vegas shooting. The final rule of the DoJ was issued on December 18, 2018.[14][15] Now, as of March 26, 2019, bump stocks are illegal for almost all US civilians, but multiple lawsuits are pending that challenge that rule.

Public opinion[edit]

Recent polls show public support for a bump stock ban. Immediately following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, 72% of registered voters supported a bump stock ban, including 68% of Republicans and 79% of Democrats.[16] A 2018 poll found 81% of American adults supported banning bump stocks with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.[17] A different poll around the same time found 56% of American adults supported banning bump stocks with a margin of error of +/- 4%.[18]

Regulatory status in the United States[edit]

Federal[edit]

The ATF ruled in 2010 that bump stocks were not a firearm subject to regulation and allowed their sale as an unregulated firearm part.[2][19][20] In the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, twelve bump fire stock devices were found at the scene.[21] The National Rifle Association stated on October 5, 2017, "Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations", and called on regulators to "immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law".[22] The 2017 shooting generated bipartisan interest in regulating bump stocks.[23] On October 4, 2017, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill to ban bump stocks,[2] but it was not acted upon. Instead, on February 20, 2018, President Trump instructed the ATF to issue regulations to treat bump stocks as machineguns.[24]

On March 23, 2018, the Department of Justice announced a plan to change the regulatory status of bump stocks. The proposed change would reclassify bump stocks as "machineguns" and effectively[Note 1] ban the devices in the United States under existing federal law.[12] A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued by the ATF on March 29, 2018, and opened for public comments.[25][13] Slightly more than 119,000 comments were submitted in support of the proposed rule, while slightly more than 66,000 comments expressed opposition to it.[15] On December 18, 2018, the final regulation to ban bump stocks was issued by the Department of Justice and published in the Federal Register on December 26.[15][26][10] The final rule states that "bump-stock-type devices" are covered by the Gun Control Act, as amended, which with limited exceptions, makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machine-gun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to 1986. Since the bump-stock-type devices covered by this final rule were not in existence prior to 1986, they would be prohibited when the rule becomes effective"[15] The ban went into effect on March 26, 2019, by which owners of bump stocks were required to destroy them or surrender them to ATF, punishable by 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine.[15][27]

State[edit]

Legality of bump stocks in the United States by state before March 26, 2019, when it became illegal at the federal level.
  Bump stocks legal
  Legality unclear
  Bump stocks illegal

Prior to the federal ban effective March 26, 2019, some states had taken action on their own to restrict ownership of the accessory. Since 1990, the sale of bump stocks has been illegal in California. They were banned in New York with the passage of the NY SAFE Act in 2013. The device's legal status is unclear in Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.[28]

After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting[edit]

In his final day as governor in January 2018, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation making the gun accessory illegal in New Jersey.[29] Massachusetts banned bump stocks after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.[5]

On March 2018, following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the state of Florida enacted SB 7026, which, among other things, banned bump stocks.[30][31] The portion of the legislation banning bump stocks took effect in October 2018; possession in Florida is a third-degree felony.[32] Vermont passed a similar law in 2018, which went into effect in October 2018; possession in Vermont is a misdemeanor.[33] Delaware,[34] Hawaii,[35] Maryland,[36] and Washington[37] have also banned bump stocks.

Some states that do not ban bump stocks may have localities that ban them, such as Northbrook, Illinois (April 2018);[38] Boulder, Colorado (May 2018);[39] and others.

Federal lawsuits[edit]

Several gun rights groups have challenged federal regulation.[40][41]

Gun Owners of America[edit]

In December 2018, Gun Owners of America filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Western Michigan seeking an preliminary injunction against the ban.[42] On March 21, 2019, that request was denied by the district court.[43] On March 25, 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an injunction and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court[44][45] which denied the request on March 28.[46]

Guedes, Codrea, Firearms Policy Coalition[edit]

The Firearms Policy Coalition and other groups sued in the U.S. District Court of District of Columbia, also seeking an injunction.[47] In February 2019, the District Court denied the Firearms Policy Coalition request for an injunction, determining that the group had not put forward convincing legal arguments that the ban was invalid.[47] On March 23, 2019, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the effective date of the regulation that applies only to the plaintiffs.[48] On March 25, 2019, the court clarified that its stay also applies members of the plaintiff organizations (Firearms Policy Coalition, Madison Society Foundation, and Florida Carry).[49] A broader injunction was denied by the Supreme Court.[50] On April 1, 2019, the Appeals Court denied a preliminary injunction in a per curium decision with a noted dissent, based largely on Chevron deference, and allowed the ban to go into effect for the plaintiffs.[8] On April 3, 2019, a second stay application was submitted to the Supreme Court[51] but was denied on April 5, 2019.[52][53]

Utah Shooting Sports Council[edit]

A lawsuit by the Utah Shooting Sports Council was filed in the U.S. District Court of Utah.[54][55] A preliminary injunction was denied on March 15, 2019[56][57] but the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay on March 21, 2019 that applies only to the plaintiff.[58][59]

Class action for compensation[edit]

A lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims seeking just compensation for individuals being deprived of their bump stocks.[60]

Cargill v. Barr[edit]

A lawsuit was filed on March 25, 2019, in the U.S. District Court of Western Texas.[61][62][63]

Patent infringement suit[edit]

Slide Fire Solutions filed suit against Bump Fire Systems for infringement of its patents on bump stock designs in 2014.[64] The suit alleged that Bump Fire Systems infringed eight US Patents, for example, United States Patent No. 6,101,918 entitled "Method And Apparatus for Accelerating the Cyclic Firing Rate of a Semi-Automatic Firearm"[65] and United States Patent No. 8,127,658 entitled "Method of Shooting a Semi-Automatic Firearm".[66] The suit was settled in 2016, resulting in Bump Fire Systems ceasing manufacture of the product in contention.[67]

Other lawsuits[edit]

Survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting sued bump stock patent holder and manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions, claiming the company was negligent and that they deliberately attempted to evade U.S. laws regulating automatic weapons: "this horrific assault would not and could not have occurred, with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self defense."[6] The suit was dismissed in September 2018; the court determined that the bump stocks of the sort used by gunman Stephen Paddock to commit the murders, were "firearm components" rather than "firearm accessories" and were therefore subject to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), a federal law immunizing manufacturers and sellers of firearms from liability for harm "caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products."[68][69]

See also[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ a b Machineguns manufactured after 1986 are illegal on the federal level, but pre-1986 ones remain legal in most states and are highly regulated. Since bump stocks were not invented until 2010, all existing supplies effectively become illegal if classified as a machinegun.

References[edit]

  1. ^ CNN, Nicole Chavez. "Bump stock: The device found on Las Vegas shooter's guns". CNN. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "The "bump stocks" used in the Las Vegas shooting may soon be banned". The Economist. 6 October 2017.
  3. ^ Berr, Jonathan. "Bump stock prices soar ahead of potential federal ban". CBS News. CBS News. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  4. ^ Mann, Brian (7 November 2017). "Bump Stock Manufacturer To Resume Sales Of Controversial Device". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b Lartey, Jamiles (7 November 2017). "Leading bump stock maker briefly makes product available again". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b Romo, Vanessa (18 April 2018). "Bump Stock Manufacturer Is Shutting Down Production". NPR. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Inventor of 'bump stock' spent years fighting for device, and lost". Reuters. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d "GUEDES v. ATF" (PDF).
  9. ^ "Akins v. US".
  10. ^ a b "Bump-Stock-Type Devices". Federal Register. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  11. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (5 October 2017). "Bump Stock Innovator Inspired by People Who 'Love Full Auto'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Sessions effectively bans bump stocks". Axios. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
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  14. ^ "US officially bans 'bump stocks' on guns". BBC News. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e Savage, Charlie (18 December 2018). "Trump Administration Imposes Ban on Bump Stocks". New York Times.
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  17. ^ Khalid, Asma (2 March 2018). "NPR Poll: After Parkland, Number of Americans Who Want Gun Restrictions Grows". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
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  26. ^ Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018).
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  28. ^ "Where are bump-fire stocks illegal? Feds, states weigh bans after Las Vegas shooting". CBS News.
  29. ^ "N.J. bans gun device used in Las Vegas shooting after Christie signs bill". NJ.com.
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  31. ^ "The NRA sued to block Florida's new gun law hours after it was passed". Vox. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  32. ^ Zachary T. Sampson (8 February 2018). "Bump stocks have been banned for months in Florida, but is anyone listening?". Tampa Bay Times.
  33. ^ April McCullum (24 September 2018). "Vermont gun laws: What to know about new bump stock ban". Burlington Free Press.
  34. ^ "Delaware's bump stock ban to take effect after buyback events". WHYY. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
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  38. ^ Kukulka, Alexandra. "Northbrook bans bump stocks throughout village, concealed carry in businesses where alcohol consumed". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  39. ^ Gstalter, Morgan (17 May 2018). "Boulder City Council votes to ban assault-style weapons". TheHill. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
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  44. ^ "Round 1: District Court sides with government against gun owners | Gun Owners of America". Retrieved 25 March 2019.
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  46. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block Trump's gun 'bump stock' ban". Reuters. 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  47. ^ a b Meagan Flynn (26 February 2018). "Bump-stock ban enacted by Trump administration can stand, federal judge rules". Washington Post.
  48. ^ "Stay Order" (PDF).
  49. ^ "Order on Modfication Clarification". Scribd. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  50. ^ "BumpstockCase.com - Bumpstock Lawsuit - Guedes v. BATFE". Firearms Policy Coalition. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  51. ^ "Guedes v. ATF stay application" (PDF).
  52. ^ "Search - Supreme Court of the United States". www.supremecourt.gov. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
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  54. ^ EST, Jenni Fink On 1/17/19 at 10:04 AM (17 January 2019). "Gun rights advocate sues Trump administration over bump stock ban". Newsweek. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  55. ^ "Aposhian v. U.S." (PDF).
  56. ^ "Judge denies Utah gun enthusiast's attempt to block federal rule banning bump stocks". www.ksl.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
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  58. ^ Imlay, Ashley (21 March 2019). "Utah gun enthusiast granted temporary stay of bump stock ban". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  59. ^ "Temporary Stay" (PDF).
  60. ^ Maher, Ann. "Bump-stock class action seeks compensation for government's 'taking' of property". madisonrecord.com. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  61. ^ "Gun rights activist Michael Cargill files lawsuit, surrenders bump stocks". KXAN. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  62. ^ Flores, Christian (25 March 2019). "With bump stock ban taking effect, Austin man plans on fighting ATF in court". KEYE. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  63. ^ "Cargill v. Barr et al Complaint | New Civil Liberties Alliance". nclalegal.org. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  64. ^ Case 3:14-cv-03358-M Document 1 Filed 09/16/14, retrieved 3 October 2017
  65. ^ US patent 6101918, William Akins, "Method and apparatus for accelerating the cyclic firing rate of a semi-automatic firearm", published Aug 15, 2000, assigned to William Akins 
  66. ^ US patent 8,127,658, Jeremiah Cottle, "Method of shooting a semi-automatic firearm", published March 6, 2012, assigned to Slide Fire Solutions, Inc. 
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  69. ^ Order, Prescott v. Slide Fire Solutions, LP, U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, September 17, 2018.