Justice Department to clarify bump stock regulations

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The legal analysis will revolve around the definition of the term "machinegun" and whether bump stocks fall in that definition.

A review of the rapid-fire devices used in the mass shooting in Las Vegas is underway, according to federal officials.

The Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - which regulates firearms but not gun accessories - will determine whether the devices, which make a semi-automatic weapon perform like an automatic weapon, are illegal.

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The Las Vegas gunman's use of bump stock to allow his weapons to fire like fully automatic machine guns, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds, has led to rare bipartisan agreement in Congress on the need to review whether they should be banned. The ANPRM will provide the public and industry the opportunity to submit formal comments to ATF about bump stocks to inform ATF's decision regarding further steps in the rulemaking process.

Lawmakers introduced bills in Congress to ban or otherwise regulate bump stocks after 58 people were killed in the October 1 shooting in Las Vegas. Using the spring effect of the stock against the shooter's shoulder, the devices allow a person to fire at a rate of hundreds of rounds a minute, almost the pace of a machine gun.

A Las Vegas law firm and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence filed a class-action lawsuit against Slide Fire Solutions, as well as manufacturers, sellers and marketers of bump stocks, on behalf of victims of the Las Vegas shooting. CEO Wayne LaPierre and Executive Director Chris Cox said devices created to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.

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