Perlmutter Asked the ATF to Ban Bump Stocks in 2013, They Declined

Perlmutter calls on Republican leadership to legislate on the issue in absence of a regulatory fix

Washington, D.C. – In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history the night of October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) is once again calling on Congress to act to prevent future gun violence and mass shootings.

“The Las Vegas shooting was so deadly because of a device known as a bump stock which significantly increases the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons,” said Perlmutter. “Machine guns and fully automatic weapons have been banned for decades and any device that makes a semi-automatic weapon into a military-grade weapon should be outlawed.”

In March 2013, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) sent a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) asking the agency to “rescind approval of gun products which allow for certain semiautomatic assault rifles to function as fully automatic when equipped with permanent “bump fire” accessories.” In April 2013, ATF sent a response stating that bump fire stocks “are not subject to the provisions of Federal firearms statutes” and therefore the “ATF does not have the authority to restrict their lawful possession, use or transfer.” To Perlmutter’s knowledge, his 2013 exchange with the ATF is the only direct response to a legislator on the issue of bump stocks.

Like Perlmutter, Speaker Ryan and other members of Congress agree that the ATF has the authority to ban bump stocks, however the ATF does not. On October 12, 2017, Perlmutter sent a letter to Speaker Ryan to make him aware of his 2013 exchange with the ATF and to urge him to bring legislation banning bump stocks to the floor of the House for a vote.

“These conversions turn already deadly assault weapons into machine guns, plain and simple. They have no place with civilians and should be banned. I asked the ATF to do so in 2013 and they declined,” said Perlmutter. “We cannot leave it to the ATF to make a regulatory fix when the agency does not believe they have the authority to do so. Congress needs to act to make the law crystal clear and ban these dangerous products once and for all.”

A ban on bump stocks was included in the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which Perlmutter helped draft and cosponsored a companion bill in the House. The Obama Administration also supported a ban on bump stocks by way of their support for the assault weapons ban. Unfortunately, the Senate defeated the bill and the House legislation did not even receive a hearing. To complicate matters, the Obama Administration’s ATF nominee was stalled in the Senate for six years and was not confirmed until July 2013.

Perlmutter supports current legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of bump stocks or other devices that accelerate the rate of fire for semi-automatic rifles. Perlmutter has also signed three recent letters: 1) asking President Trump to direct the ATF to ban bump stocks; 2) asking Speaker Ryan to take up legislation to ban bump stocks; and 3) asking the ATF to re-evaluate bump stocks. Perlmutter is a vice chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce.


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