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Kildee bill would close potential bump-stock loophole

Woman protesting mass killing
Colin Lloyd
Woman protesting mass killings in the U.S.

A loophole that could allow guns to be equipped with bump stocks — devices that allow firearms to shoot at nearly the rate of machine guns — would be closed as part of the National Firearms Act, under a bill introduced by Democratic Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee.

Kildee says the man who killed 58 people in Las Vegas in 2017 used semi-automatic rifles equipped with bump stocks.

He said the U.S. can protect the Second Amendment without allowing gun stocks and other weapons capable of mass murder.

"We ought to be able to support hunters, people who want guns for target shooting or personal protection without allowing for guns that are explicitly created to be efficient killers of people," he said.

A rule adopted during the Trump administration by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives currently forbids most civilians from owning bump stocks, just as they cannot own machine guns. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear several challenges to the rule, but another case is still moving through the court system.

Kildee said his bill would make the ATF's authority to regulate gun stocks a more permanent part of U.S. law. 

"Congress needs to make it clear that no matter what this or a future court may do, there's nothing quite like legislation to make certain that bump stocks or any device like a bump stock will never be legal in this country," he said.

The bill would regulate bump stocks in the same way as machine guns under the National Firearms Act, making it generally illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess bump stocks for civilian use. The legislation also would cover similar devices that increase a firearm’s rate of fire, which Kildee said would limit the ability of gun producers to create further loopholes.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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