Ryan: Federal rules way to address bump stocks
New federal rules would be “the smartest, quickest” way to regulate the device the gunman in the Las Vegas massacre used to heighten his firepower, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday, suggesting that Congress was unlikely to act first.
It is unclear what if any action the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will take on so-called bump stocks. The agency has said that once it issues a ruling on a weapon or equipment, it revises its stance only if gun laws or the equipment itself have changed.
The bureau decided in 2010 that bump stocks did not violate federal law, and gun statutes and the design of the mechanism have been unchanged since then. Ryan, R-Wis., said lawmakers are trying to figure out why the bureau has allowed the sale of bump stocks.
“This is a regulation that probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Ryan said. “We think the regulatory fix is the smartest, quickest fix,” he said.
ATF spokeswoman Mary Markos declined to say if the White House or Justice Department could or will compel the agency to reevaluate its 2010 decision.
Bump stocks can be attached to a semi-automatic rifle to fire continuously, discharging 400 to 800 rounds a minute. That can transform guns into fully automatic weapons, which are strictly regulated.
The devices were found in Stephen Paddock’s arsenal after he fired from a high-rise hotel onto a music festival, leaving 58 dead and hundreds wounded.