Bennet Cosponsors Bill to Close Automatic Weapon Loophole

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today cosponsored the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, legislation to close a loophole in the law that allows semi-automatic firearms to be altered to fire at the rate of automatic weapons. It has been illegal to convert a firearm into a fully-automatic weapon for more than 30 years.

"This commonsense bill would fix a glitch in the law that allows people to avoid restrictions on converting firearms into murder weapons with no practical recreational use," Bennet said. "Closing this gap is the least we can do to try and reduce gun violence in our communities."

Since the 1930s, the federal government has significantly restricted the sale of fully-automatic weapons. Under the National Firearms Act, the sale, manufacture, and transfer of automatic weapons is illegal. 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 require one trigger pull for each round fired and typically have a rate of fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. With a bump stock, or other similar device, one trigger pull can fire continuous rounds until the magazine is empty, increasing 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 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 Las Vegas shooter had 23 guns and multiple bump stocks in his hotel room.