After they were officially banned on March 26 this year, the federal government collected fewer than 1,000 bump stocks and there are reportedly hundreds of thousands still in circulation.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) collected 582 bump stocks which were “abandoned” and 98 that were kept as evidence, The Washington Times reported.
The Trump Administration estimates that there are anywhere between 280,000 to 520,000 bump-stock-type devices in circulation when it first pushed the rule.
There have been numerous reports that the ban would fail to be meaningfully enforced, showing the scope the federal government would truly need to actually remove them from the public.
By attaching to a rifle’s frame and using recoil effects to bounce the rifle off the shooter’s shoulder and “bump” the trigger back into the trigger finger, bump stocks help a user fire rounds faster.
The devices became a hot-topic after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and more than 400 injured.
The administration had banned bump stocks in December 2018 and gave owners until March 26 to turn them over or destroy them through the following methods:
- For destruction, regardless of manufacturer or model, a bump stock must be made incapable of being readily restored to its intended function by, for example, crushing, melting or shredding the bump stock.
- Bump stocks may also be destroyed by cutting, so long as the bump stock is completely severed in the areas constituting critical design features, denoted by the red lines in the specific model of bump stock destruction diagrams that follow.
- The bump stock must be completely severed in each area indicated by the red line.
- Destroying a bump stock using any other method may be legally insufficient, such that continued possession of the device may violate 18 U.S.C. 922(o).
So, while no one has turned in their bump stocks, it is possible that people are destroying them instead.
There have been numerous lawsuits attempting to block the ban, but all have so far failed and under current federal law, it is illegal to possess a bump stock.
The ATF in 2010 made a decision that determined bump stocks are different from machine guns and are unable to be subjected to the same regulation as machine guns, but the ban effectively reversed that decision.