Federal bump stock ban goes into effect Tuesday; none turned over to ATF in Pennsylvania
With the bump stock ban looming, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it is not aware of anyone turning a single one in at the field office in Pittsburgh or the dozen other offices across the state, a spokeswoman said.
The final rule promulgated by the Trump administration banning bump stocks goes into effect Tuesday, meaning bump stock owners must either turn them in or destroy them on their own.
“We haven’t seen anybody turn in any bump stocks as of right now to any of our local ATF offices in Pennsylvania,” said Charlene Hennessy, an ATF spokeswoman in the Philadelphia Field Division, which oversees the agency’s operations in Pennsylvania.
“What we’re informing the public is: They can either destroy them on their own by melting, crushing or cutting, or they can bring them to their local ATF office to drop them off and basically abandon them at that point,” she said.
Turning in a bump stock at an ATF field office requires an appointment, Hennessy said. The Pittsburgh field office, at 1000 Liberty Ave., can be reached by calling 412-395-0540.
Hennessy said there are no sanctions for turning in a bump stock after Tuesday. But “if an owner is found in possession of one of these devices, they could be subject to federal prosecution since the item will be illegal,” she said.
The final rule clarifies that the definition of “machine gun” in the Gun Control Act and the National Firearms Act includes bump stocks — devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the firearm, according to the ATF.
Bump stocks came under scrutiny in 2017 after a mass shooting in Las Vegas. The gunman in the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre fired from an upper floor of a hotel on people attending an outdoor country music concert. He used 23 AR-style weapons, with bump stocks fitted to 14 of them. The shooting spree left 58 people dead.
The ATF issued a series of detailed “destruction instructions,” which state that “a bump stock must be made incapable of being readily restored to its intended function.”
This is the only firearms-related ban passed by federal lawmakers in recent years, the Associated Press reported.
Congress in 1994 passed a 10-year ban on assault-type weapons. It expired in 2004.
The decade-long assault weapons ban only applied to sales, as the government allowed people who bought them before the ban to keep the weapons. No such provision will apply to bump stocks. The government also is not offering any compensation, such as buy backs, for the devices.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, email@example.com or via Twitter .