To protect the public from Las Vegas-style attacks, the government must review these too.
The Justice Department this week delivered its long-promised ban on bump stocks, a device that gun owners can affix to the back of their semi-automatic rifles to increase the rate of fire. While the ban has widespread support, it has also drawn criticism from gun control advocates who say bump stocks are just one of several devices used to effectively turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon.
President Trump has been calling for a ban on bump stocks since 2017, the same year Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used a rifle outfitted with one to kill 58 people and injure hundreds more at a music festival shooting last year. This explainer from The New York Times explains just how bump stocks work and how they increase the rate of fire compares to standard semi-automatic weapons.
But the bump stock ban doesn’t cover accessories that achieve a similar effect, leaving the public open to the fully automated mass shootings. A quick survey of the Internet uncovered these modifications semi-automatic gun owners can make to achieve “full auto fun.”
Gatling cranks affix to the outside of a rifle with a gear you turn so that each cog bumps into the trigger, firing rounds in quick succession. This version is just $40 and promises to fire 3 shots per turn.
Pull and release triggers modify a gun’s trigger so that both the backward motion of the trigger, the “pull,” and the forward motion of the trigger, “the release,” each fire a bullet. Guns outfitted with these devices still meet the ATF’s definition of a semi-automatic weapon because a separate motion is required to fire each round.
Hellfire triggers are small springs that a gun owner can affix to the back of the trigger, that pushes it back into firing position allowing the shooter to pull the trigger more quickly and in rapid succession.
The government’s ability to ban those devices hinges on the success of the existing bump-stock ban, which is already facing legal challenges. Shortly after the ban was announced, the Gun Owners of America promised to file a federal lawsuit defending gun owners rights to own the device. Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition argues that gun owners must be compensated when turning in their devices. In a column in the Washington Post, California Senator Dianne Feinstein called on Congress to pass a law banning the devices as a way to legally protect the new rules.
Photo credit: Thomas Tucker