DOJ and ATF officials have said publicly and privately that banning bump stocks could not be achieved unilaterally. They argue that Congress needs to pass legislation in order to reclassify bumpstocks in the US, the New York Times reported (paywall). The ATF “could not find a way to classify it as a machine gun,” in 2010, a former official told The Trace.
After a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, a bill to ban bumpstocks was re-introduced in October. However, this stalled after speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the ATF, not Congress, should be responsible for the issue. It’s unclear whether Trump’s support for the idea would be enough to get legislation passed in Congress this time around.
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