Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), joined by 52 of his House colleagues, today sent a letter to President Trump calling for his support of a legislative solution to ban bump stocks and other similar devices. Earlier this year, President Trump stated his opposition to bump stocks and directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban these devices administratively. In March, the DOJ opened public comment, the first step in the rulemaking process to amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to clarify bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law. The public comment period ended June 27, 2018.
Perlmutter and other Democrats have long since argued bump stocks and other similar devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger therefore making a semiautomatic weapon into a military-grade weapon which has been banned for decades. The October shooting in Las Vegas once again brought to light the need to finally ban these devices.
“While many of us support this step forward by the Administration, it is clear any change to current regulations will face lengthy litigation and challenges,” said Perlmutter. “President Trump has stated his desire to ban these devices and Congress has the power to act now to clarify the law and ban these dangerous products. It’s time we work together and get this done once and for all. ”
Perlmutter first brought the issue to light in March 2013 in a letter to the ATF asking the agency to ban gun products which allow for certain semiautomatic assault rifles to function as fully automatic weapons when equipped with bump fire accessories. The ATF sent a response in April 2013 claiming the agency did not have the authority to ban bump stocks or other similar devices. ATF’s stated position in the April 2013 letter and other similar statements will likely lead to lawsuits putting in jeopardy the effort to ban bump stocks and almost certainly delay the implementation of this important change.
The letter reiterates the need for swift legislative action for the safety of communities across the country, “Without legislative action by Congress, we fear the rulemaking process will be enveloped in lengthy litigation, leaving more communities vulnerable to the damage these devices are capable of inflicting.”
Two pieces of legislation have been introduced in the House 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 supports both of these bills, and sent a letter to Speaker Ryan in October 2017 making him aware of his 2013 exchange with the ATF and urging him to bring legislation banning bump stocks to the floor of the House for a vote. To date, Perlmutter has not received a response from Speaker Ryan and legislation to address this issue has not been brought to the House floor for a vote. Perlmutter has served as Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce since 2013.
Click here to read the final letter or see below.
July 23, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We are pleased you directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to clarify that ‘bump fire’ stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics are ‘machineguns’ as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968. We urge you to work with us to pursue a legislative solution ensuring proposed regulations regarding bump stocks are permanent and implemented without delay.
While we support banning these devices via rulemaking, we do not feel this strategy alone is sufficient. Bump stocks are just one of many kinds of rapid fire trigger activators the gun industry has developed to circumvent the federal ban on machineguns. While the regulation may govern bump stocks, Congress must act to regulate all of these devices. Without legislative action by Congress, we fear the rulemaking process will be enveloped in lengthy litigation, leaving more communities vulnerable to the damage these devices are capable of inflicting.
We have no time to waste. Gun violence can impact any community in this country, no matter one’s party affiliation or congressional district. Too many of our constituents have experienced such horrors firsthand. At the local and state levels, constituents themselves are taking action on this issue; like us, they know we must act to protect our communities.
Thank you again for your efforts to ban bump stock devices through rulemaking. To fully ensure the safety of American communities, we ask you commit to working with the undersigned members to pass legislation swiftly banning bump stocks and similar devices permanently.