The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced Tuesday that it is reviewing whether or not bump stocks, the accessory used by the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre that killed 58 people, should be banned.
The review will try to determine whether existing regulations on the illegality of owning a machine gun can be applied to bump stocks.
Bump stocks have come under scrutiny in the past several months after the Las Vegas shooter used them to fire guns in rapid succession. Bump stocks are widely available for sale because the ATF deemed the bump stock to be a part or accessory that is not subject to regulation by the ATF.
The announcement came just one day before the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the gun accessory.
“The Department of Justice has the duty to enforce our laws, protect our rights, and keep the American people safe,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news release. “Possessing firearm parts that are used exclusively in converting a weapon into a machine gun is illegal, except for certain limited circumstances. Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition”
“We will go through the regulatory process that is required by law and we will be attentive to input from the public. This Department is serious about firearms offenses, as shown by the dramatic increase in firearms prosecutions this year,” the statement read. “The regulatory clarification we begin today will help us to continue to protect the American people by carrying out the laws duly enacted by our representatives in Congress.”
An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking submitted to the Office of Management and Budget was the first step taken in the review process.
On Wednesday, Thomas Brandon, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that they wouldn’t have initiated a review on the ban of bump stocks “if that wasn’t a possibility at the end.”