Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons co-sponsored the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, a bill to close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons, which have been illegal for more than 30 years.

“Like many Americans, I was horrified that one individual could inflict so much carnage in such a short period of time,” Carper said. “Deadly devices like ‘bump stocks’ effectively turn already dangerous weapons into fully automatic weapons, which have been banned since the 1930s. Congress agreed decades ago that these weapons were too dangerous for civilian use, but a loophole in the law allows individuals to fire hundreds of rounds per minute. The American people want us to use common sense and close dangerous loopholes in our nation’s gun laws like this one. Congress should listen.”

“While automatic weapons have been illegal for 30 years in America, some weapons can be modified by adding something called a ‘bump stock’ to make them, effectively, automatic weapons that can fire hundreds of rounds per minute,” Coons said. “This bill would ban the sale and transfer of ‘bump stocks’ that needlessly make weapons more dangerous and make our communities less safe.”

Under the National Firearms Act, the sale, manufacture and transfer of automatic weapons are 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 typically have a rate of fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. A bump stock, or other similar device increases the semi-automatic rifles rate of fire between 400 and 800 rounds per minute.

This bill 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 also 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.