An agency which operates public shooting ranges in South Carolina is emphasizing that gun modifications known as “bump stocks” are not allowed on those ranges.
A state Department of Natural Resources spokesman said the agency is telling range operators that rifles fitted with the device should be considered automatic weapons, which are banned from shooting ranges under existing regulations.
“We would not allow bump stocks because it enables a firearm to shoot faster than semiautomatic firearms,” Capt. Billy Downer told South Carolina Radio Network.
Legal semi-automatic guns require a shooter physically pull the trigger for each shot fired. But when a bump stock is attached, it allows the gun’s recoil to push the trigger back into position after a shot, effectively allowing a shooter to hold the trigger down and continue firing.
The devices were once little-known except to weapons enthusiasts but have come under increased scrutiny after investigators said the gunman behind the Las Vegas attacks used them. Federal law prohibits the sale of automatic weapons in most cases. However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allowed the modifications starting in 2010 after its manufacturer indicated it could help those with disabilities pull a semiautomatic rifle trigger more easily.
Downer said there would be no reason to bring such a modification to a manned range anyway, since operators usually require at least three seconds between shots. “We don’t allow people to pull the trigger as fast as they can,” he said. “We ask people to maintain control and safety.”
Lawmakers on the state and federal level are considering whether bump stocks should have tighter regulations or even be banned completely. State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, has said he will file legislation in the South Carolina House next year which would ban the device.
However, gun rights groups say a ban could be difficult to enforce since they have been available on the public market for seven years.