On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the Department of Justice announced they submitted a request to change to the National Firearms and Gun Control Acts to include bump stocks under the definition of “machine gun.”
This regulation only needs to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget and will not have to go through the legislation process through Congress.
So, what exactly would that mean?
The National Firearms Act of 1934 did not ban, nor make ownership of machine guns illegal, just highly restrictive. To own a machine gun, short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, silencer or destructive device, you must go through a lengthy application and approval process, which includes an extensive background check, a tax stamp of $200 (back then it equaled about $3,700,) register the gun, submit photos and fingerprints, and have a chief law enforcement officer sign off on your application. These rules still apply today. Violators of the law face fierce consequences with hefty fines, 10 years in prison and losing the rights to own firearms ever again.
Florida has already passed a law banning bump stocks. It reads:
790.222 Bump-fire stocks prohibited. —A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.741 775.083, or s. 775.084.
There is no word yet how Florida will go about collecting already-owned bump stocks or if those already purchased will grandfather in.
The sale of bump stocks has so far been completely unrestricted. They are not firearms. You don’t have to go through a background check to purchase them, nor are records kept of the purchase.
Last month, President Trump wrote a memo to Attorney General Sessions to move to ban bump stocks, he said, “It’s gone, don’t worry about it. … the bullets come out fast, but nobody knows where the hell they are going. You put it into the machine gun category, which is what it is. It becomes essentially a machine gun. …because we are going to make it so tough, you’re not going to be able to get them. Nobody’s going to want them anyway… Bump stocks, we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”
Hats off to The Firearm Blog who broke the story. You can read it here.