WASHINGTON, D. C. – Expressing grave concern about the role “bump stocks” played in the recent Las Vegas tragedy, Attorney General Karl A. Racine today joined a bipartisan letter to Congressional leaders urging them to close a loophole in current federal gun laws.
The bipartisan letter, co-sponsored by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, includes support from a broad group of attorneys general from U.S. states and territories. The letter notes that bump stock devices – a plastic or metal piece attached to a firearm’s stock designed to increase the ability to fire like a fully automatic weapon – may be used to evade the machinegun laws that are currently in place.
It has been widely reported that the Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, modified otherwise lawful semi-automatic rifles with “bump stocks” to kill 58 innocent people and injure hundreds more. The attorneys general urge Congress to regulate bump stocks like machine guns in order to protect residents from the dangers posed by unrestricted fully automatic weapons.
Since 1986, when Congress enacted the Firearm Owners Protection Act to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968, fully automatic weapons and “machineguns” have been restricted, making it unlawful for civilians to possess a machinegun unless the firearm was acquired prior to the Act’s effective date.
According to the letter, bump stocks can “mimic fully automatic machinegun fire and therefore lead to disastrous consequences in the wrong hands.” The attorneys general also state that Congress “should carefully consider whether bump stocks have created a loophole in the machinegun laws” when considering any news laws.
In addition to the District and the co-sponsors from Nevada and Massachusetts, the letter is also signed by the attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and Wisconsin.