Titus Calls for a Ban on Bump Stocks Once and For All
Washington, DC, October 1, 2022 | Sara Severens (202-924-1719)
Tags: Preventing Gun Violence
Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging them to bring legislation to the floor that would make bump stocks permanently illegal.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01), the author of the Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act and member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging them to bring legislation to the floor that would make bump stocks permanently illegal.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. On October 1, 2017, a gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel used a bump stock attached to a semi-automatic rifle to take 58 lives and injure over 500 others. Bump stocks are conversion accessories that allow an increased firing rate of 400-800 rounds per minute, similar to a machine gun.
“All too often, communities across the country experience the heartbreaking pain of a mass shooting,” said Rep. Titus. “Five years after the horrific tragedy in my district, we still have not permanently outlawed bump stocks. If a partisan court so chooses, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ban could be reversed and these devices would become easily accessible again. We must act to ensure these deadly weapons are no longer in civilian hands. Our children cannot wait any longer.”
While it has been illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess bump stocks since an ATF rulemaking took effect in 2019, gun advocates have repeatedly challenged the ban in federal court. Just this past September, the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans opted to hear new arguments positing the legality of the ban. This comes as 22 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief earlier this year asking that the Supreme Court overturn the ban on bump stocks.
Lower court challenges to the ATF’s bump stock ban could be taken up by the Supreme Court’s conservative Majority in the new term, jeopardizing the viability of the ban. This is particularly pertinent as the Court grows more conservative and favorable to the gun lobby’s interests.
“As Members of Congress concerned that the legality of bump stocks can be influenced by sway from the gun lobby and decided by a partisan panel of judges, we urge you to bring legislation to the floor to permanently codify this ban,” the Members concluded. “Doing so will ensure that bump stocks are treated under U.S. law like the deadly, military-grade devices that they are. Unequivocally, a bump stock ban is in the best interest of public safety and will prevent bad actors from using these devices to carry out deadly mass shootings in a matter of minutes.”
In June 2022, the Closing the Bump Stock Loophole Act passed the House of Representatives as part of the Protecting Our Kids Act package. This bump stock ban legislation regulates these devices in the same way that the ATF rule does by classifying bump stocks as machine guns under current law which is consistent with their firing rate.
Notably, the bump stock ban in the Protecting Our Kids Act was the most bipartisan title of the larger package with thirteen Republicans voting in favor of the provision. Further, several key Senate Republicans have stated their openness to supporting a bump stock ban.
In addition to Rep. Titus, this letter was signed by 20 Members of Congress including Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Susie Lee (D-NV), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), André Carson (D-IN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Marie Newman (D-IL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), David Price (D-NC), Lou Correa (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Karen Bass (D-CA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), and Dan Kildee (D-MI).
Read today’s full letter here.