Ernst Urges Review of Obama-era Bump Stock Ruling

Ernst Joins Group of Senators In Sending Letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), James Lankford (R-OK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), and James Inhofe (R-OK) today urged the Trump Administration’s U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to swiftly review an Obama Administration decision that permitted the sale of bump stock devices and issue its own interpretation.

The senators’ request for review comes after a gunman opened fire on 22,000 innocent concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people and wounding nearly 500 more. Federal authorities found 12 bump stock devices outfitted on firearms in the assailant’s Mandalay Bay hotel room.

“We recognize that it is impossible to prevent tragedy and acts of “pure evil,” in the words of our President. We believe, however, the tragic events in Las Vegas brought to light an issue from this past Administration that we respectfully request that your Bureau swiftly review,” the senators wrote. “Press reports of the crime scene in Las Vegas, Nevada, indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Specifically, these devices are designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles. The sale of these devices and, bump stocks specifically, is permitted under an interpretation of the Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23)) and National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5845(b)) made by the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

The senators continued, “Given the function and capability of a semi-automatic rifle that is modified by a bump stock, we respectfully request that you review the Obama Administration’s interpretation and issue your own interpretation. Unfortunately, we are all now keenly aware of how this device operates and believe that this renewed review and determination will keep our citizens safe and ensure that federal law is enforced.”

The letter, available here, reads in full:

 

October 6, 2017

 

Mr. Thomas E. Brandon

Acting Director

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

99 New York Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20226

 

Dear Acting Director Brandon:

 

The citizens of Nevada, and of our country as a whole, continue to mourn the brutal and senseless attack on innocent concertgoers in Las Vegas the night of October 1, 2017. We remember and pray for those lost in this tragedy, their family and friends. We honor and applaud the bravery of the first responders, both law enforcement and civilian heroes, medical professionals, and all who came to the aid of those in need.

We recognize that it is impossible to prevent tragedy and acts of “pure evil,” in the words of our President. We believe, however, the tragic events in Las Vegas brought to light an issue from this past Administration that we respectfully request that your Bureau swiftly review. 

Press reports of the crime scene in Las Vegas, Nevada, indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Specifically, these devices are designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles. The sale of these devices and, bump stocks specifically, is permitted under an interpretation of the Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23)) and National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5845(b)) made by the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

Given the function and capability of a semi-automatic rifle that is modified by a bump stock, we respectfully request that you review the Obama Administration’s interpretation and issue your own interpretation. Unfortunately, we are all now keenly aware of how this device operates and believe that this renewed review and determination will keep our citizens safe and ensure that federal law is enforced.

We appreciate your swift response and action on this important issue.

Sincerely,