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House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force wants vote on banning bump stocks for civilians

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Bump stocks are gun accessories that affix to assault rifles and generate automatic fire with a single trigger pull, allowing a shooter to fire at a rate of 400 to 800 rounds per minute.

The devices were used during the Route 91 Festival shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, which remains the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former law enforcement officer and a current member of the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, joined 67 of her colleagues in urging U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring bipartisan legislation to the U.S. House floor that would codify a ban on bump stocks for civilian use under federal law.

 In a letter to Speaker Johnson, Spanberger and her colleagues urged the ­­­Speaker to bring the bipartisan Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act to the U.S. House floor for a vote. The legislation would codify a federal ban on bump stocks and make it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess bump stocks for civilian use. The bill also limits gun industry loopholes, as it applies to all parts and modifications that similarly increase the rate of fire by eliminating the need for each single function of the trigger.

The letter comes after the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Garland v. Cargill, a challenge to a 2018 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rulemaking that deemed bump stocks illegal for civilian use. If the Supreme Court sides with the challenge to the ATF rule, civilian use of these dangerous supplemental devices would again be allowed.

“As you craft the floor schedule for the remainder of the 118th Congress, we urge you to bring forward legislation to permanently codify bump stocks as illegal, as previously established by a Republican Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) rulemaking,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “This is particularly imperative given the case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Garland v. Cargill, that could disrupt the current legal landscape and permit ownership of bump stocks once again.”

The letter was led in the U.S. House by U.S. Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada and has been endorsed by Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Brady: United Against Gun Violence, and the Newtown Action Alliance.

“Additionally, bringing this proposal to the floor would heed the advice of the Fifth Circuit Court in calling for legislative action by Congress, reduce regulatory and judicial jockeying on the matter as has been the case in years past, and keep Americans safe from devices that transform lawful semiautomatic firearms into machine guns — the kinds of firearms that have been illegal for civilian use for decades,” the letter states.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.