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Blumenthal and Murphy Introduce Bill to Close Automatic Weapon Loophole

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introducing 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.

“Bump stock devices are carnage force-multipliers. The searing noise of that staccato firing in Las Vegas that we have all now heard countless times should be a wakeup call to this Congress. We should come together to stop the sale of a device that is patently designed just to kill people. The bump stock device essentially circumvents the law – widely accepted – and enables law breaking. What excuse can there be for the continued sale of bump stocks? None,” said Blumenthal.

Murphy said, “Bump fire stocks skirt the law to effectively make a semi-automatic weapon mimic an illegal fully automatic weapon – that’s literally the only reason it exists. People in Connecticut know this shouldn’t even be a debate. Automatic weapons are outlawed for a reason, and the horror in Las Vegas made clear why. Congress needs to pass this bill ASAP or we will see them seized by even more mass murderers and terrorists.”

The sale, manufacture and transfer of new fully automatic weapons have been illegal since 1986. 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 to 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. 

The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).