October 04, 2017

Feinstein, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Close Automatic Weapon Loophole

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and a number of Democrats today introduced the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, a bill to close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons, which have been illegal for more than 30 years.

In addition to Senator Feinstein, cosponsors include Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“We’ve now witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which saw nearly 600 people killed or injured. An American concert venue has now become a battlefield. We must stop this now,” Feinstein said. “Automatic weapons have been illegal for more than 30 years, but there’s a loophole in the law that can be exploited to allow killers to fire at rates of between 400 and 800 rounds-per-minute. The only reason to fire so many rounds so fast is to kill large numbers of people. No one should be able to easily and cheaply modify legal weapons into what are essentially machine guns.”

Under the National Firearms Act, the sale, manufacture and transfer of automatic weapons are illegal. However, bump stocks, slide fire devices and other similar accessories are able to be attached to semi-automatic weapons, allowing them to reach fully-automatic rates of fire.

Semi-automatic rifles typically have a rate of fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. A bump stock, or other similar device increases the semi-automatic rifle's rate of fire between 400 and 800 rounds per minute.

This bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation, manufacture or possession of bump stocks, trigger cranks and similar accessories that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.

The bill also makes clear that its intent is to target only those accessories that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. Legitimate accessories used by hunters would be exempt. The bill also contains exceptions for lawful possession of these devices by law enforcement and the government.

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