SAN ANTONIO – The rapid-burst gunfire during the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre was made possible by a bump stock, an after-market device the Trump administration has now banned.
The ban goes into effect March 26 of this year. The Trouble Shooters found that enforcing it is mostly a matter of honor code.
Instructor Josh Felker from Lone Star Handgun borrowed a bump stock from a customer to show us how it works.
“It just helps you pull the trigger a little bit faster,” he said while demonstrating how the device fits onto the back of a semi-automatic gun. “As I fire, that recoil comes back toward me and I push forward. It’s an equal-opposite reaction and it allows me to fire a little bit faster.”
The ATF is the agency charged with enforcing the ban on owning bump stocks.
“This particular firearm was part of a criminal investigation where it was intercepted or interdicted on its way to Mexico,” ATF special agent in charge Mike Weddel said while showing us a confiscated weapon with a bump stock attached.
The ban’s being challenged in court by pro-gun groups who point out that for years, the government called the after-market devices perfectly legal.
“The new law states they have now classified bump stocks as a machine gun,” Weddel said.
Hundreds of thousands of bump stocks are estimated to be in circulation, and there’s no grandfather clause in the ban. Anyone who owns a bump stock is asked to destroy it.
“They could shred the stock. They could have it crushed. They could melt it. Cut across the stocks. Just so that the bump stock could not be put back together,” Weddel says.
If you prefer to just turn it in, owners in the San Antonio area can call (210) 805-2727 to make an appointment with the ATF.
After the deadline, getting caught with a bump stock puts you in violation of federal law with a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
Since the ban works on honor code, Felker predicts it won’t be successful.
“How do we enforce this?” the handgun instructor asked. “I think what a lot of people will be doing, they’ll just conveniently push that thing to the side and it won’t be seen again.”
By EMILY BAUCUM