On February 20th, President Trump announced that he had directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to propose new rules that would ban the use and manufacture of bump stocks, devices that are attached to guns in order to make them fire rounds quicker.
What exactly is a bump stock?
Attached to the lower end of a rifle, a bump stock is a piece of metal or plastic that enables the shooter to fire rounds much faster than they would with a normal semi-automatic rifle. A bump stock was used in the Las Vegas shooting on October 1st, 2017, in which 59 people (including the shooter) were killed. There were also 422 injuries due to gunfire as a result of the attack.
How do bump stocks work?
A bump stock allows a shooter to fire dozens of rounds in just seconds, simulating automatic gunfire, despite it being a semi-automatic rifle. When a gun is fired, it will bounce backward (recoil.) A bump stock uses the kinetic energy provided by the recoil to spring the weapon forward again. This causes the trigger to move repeatedly against the shooter’s finger, thereby firing more bullets.
Since a bump stock does not change any of the internal mechanisms of the gun, a bump stock was considered legal under federal guidelines. It appears that President Trump aims to change that with February 20th’s announcement.