Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is among those sponsoring federal legislation to ban the sale of so-called "bump stocks."
Bump stocks are accessories that can be used to increase the firing rate of a semi-automatic weapon, essentially converting it into a fully-automatic assault weapon.
While current law bans the sale, manufacture and transfer of most automatic weapons, the legislation Nelson filed with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and others would close a current loophole in the law that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the same rate as automatic weapons.
"I'm a hunter and have owned guns my whole life," Nelson said, "But these automatic weapons are not for hunting, they are for killing. And this commonsense bill would, at the very least, make it harder for someone to convert a semi-automatic rifle into what is essentially a fully-automatic machine gun."
The legislation 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.
While a typical semi-automatic rifle can fire at a rate of between 45 and 60 rounds per minute, a fully-automatic weapon can fire at a rate of 400 to 800 rounds per minute.
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.