Before a year ago yesterday, no one outside the gun world had ever heard of a bump stock—pretty much a novelty range toy that enables people to rapidly fire their rifles to mimic a rate of fire near full auto. (Bump firing is something AR and other MSR owners have done forever. It has always been legal.)

Below, this AR-15 owner demonstrates how to do it by simply using your trigger finger:

Others use a rubber band:

And this guy uses his belt loop:

Any way… you get the idea…

On October 1, 2017, a seriously sick man opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip killing 58 people. Over 800 people were additionally hurt. The Feds found 12 AR-15s in Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay hotel room outfitted with bump stocks.

According to the open docket on the ATF’s regulatory website:

In general, bump-stock-type devices…are designed to channel recoil energy to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms from a single trigger pull. The bump-stock-type device functions as a self-acting and self-regulating force that channels the firearm’s recoil energy in a continuous back-and-forth cycle that allows the shooter to attain continuous firing after a single pull of the trigger so long as the trigger finger remains stationary on the device’s extension ledge (as designed). No further physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter is required.

History of the Bump Stock

The bump stock has an interesting, if not somewhat hazy, history. A Marine veteran from Florida named Bill Akins claims he invented the bump stock in 1996. Partnering with some firearms industry folks and after investing a lot of money, Akins developed a prototype he called the Akins Accelerator and sent one to the ATF in 2003. The prototype was approved for legal sale in a letter dated August 23, 2005. Akins sold his Ruger 10/22 bump fire stock for $1,000. News spread quickly in firearm circles and the Accelerator became an overnight sensation.

A Ruger 10/22 Akins Accelerator found on GunBroker.com
A Ruger 10/22 Akins Accelerator found on GunBroker.com

Suddenly, and without warning, a letter dated November 22, 2006 from the ATF was sent to Akins demanding he cease production. Further, each customer was asked to sign an affidavit and return their device to the ATF. For whatever reason, the Bush Administration had decided to reverse the ATF’s original decision.

Fast forward five years later, when another veteran, Jeremiah Cottle, ‘reinvented’ the bump fire stock and receives a patent in 2010 for his design. That same year, the ATF rules that Cottle’s Slide Fire Solution stock is a legal, non-firearm device. In 2012, Cottle’s company settles a patent infringement lawsuit with FOSTecH, the company that Akins transferred his patent to.

And now we’re here, over 20 years later about to ban them again.

Bump Stock Timeline

  • March 23, 2018—President Trump asks the DOJ to ban bump stocks. The docket opens for public comment.
  • May 20, 2018—Slide Fire Solutions shuts its doors.
  • June 27, 2018—The comment period ends and the docket closes.
  • October 1, 2018—President Trump announces, “In order to eliminate—terminate—bump stocks, we have to go through procedure. We are now at the final stages of that procedure.”

Without fanfare or any news coverage, The Justice Department submitted its final rule banning bump stocks to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House last Thursday. This information was confirmed by a spokesperson from the BATFE. According to Office of Management and Budget, the rule has a 90-day review period; however, at a news conference on Monday, President Trump assured journalists, “We are knocking out bump stocks. I have told the (National Rifle Association)—bump stocks are gone.”

A Slide Fire bump stock.
A Slide Fire bump stock.

Once the process is finished, it will be illegal to manufacture, import or own a bump stock.

Connecticut; Deerfield, Illinois; Florida; Lincoln, Nebraska; New Jersey; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington; Massachusetts; Hawaii; Delaware; Maryland; and Denver, Colorado have all banned bump stocks. Of the few that have already gone in effect, only Massachusetts reports having three people turn in theirs into authorities.

Any law, regardless if it is local, state, city or federal will be nearly impossible to enforce. The ATF estimates there could be nearly 600,000 bump stocks in circulation but really no one knows because bump stocks aren’t firearms and have no trackable serial numbers.

So, what happens now?

We wait for the ban and cross our fingers for a lawsuit.

We’ve covered the bump stock ban extensively. See these articles for more further information: