WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is seeking to ban ‘bump stocks,’ devices that may be used to modify semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly – as many as 400 to 800 rounds per minute.  Investigators report that the Las Vegas shooter had several bump stock devices in the room where he carried out the mass shooting earlier this week.

Reed and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 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 largely outlawed for decades.

The purchase of new, fully automatic weapons – guns that fire continuously with one trigger pull and reload automatically – has been significantly restricted in the United States since the 1930s.

But under current law, bump stocks, slide fire devices, and other similar accessories are able to be legally attached to semi-automatic weapons, allowing them to reach fully-automatic rates of fire.  This permits potentially bad actors to use readily available, legal materials to circumvent the law and assemble machine guns at home.

“There is widespread consensus that the sale of automatic machine guns – weapons of war designed to cause mass casualties – need to be well-regulated.  And there should be strong, bipartisan consensus to close the bump stock loophole.  Congress did nothing in response to Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Virginia Tech, San Bernardino, and other mass shootings.  It is sickening to stand by and just let the body counts rise and do nothing.  Passing the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act is the least we can do, and we should do it quickly,” said Reed, who has also called for thorough background checks for all gun purchasers.

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.

The Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act 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.