ATF official who analyzed bump stocks defends agency’s ruling
By Andrew Shepperson
The ATF official who was in charge of determining the legality of bump stocks has come out to defend the agency’s initial ruling in the face of fierce criticism after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Rick Vasquez, the assistant chief of the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch at the time of the Slide Fire bump stock evaluation in 2010, told The Trace that he and other analysts conducted extension tests on the devices, which use the recoil from semi-automatic rifles to make them fire at nearly the same rate as fully automatic weapons.
Earlier this month, Las Vegas police found that bump stocks were fashioned to rifles used by gunman to kill 58 people and injure hundreds more in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Back in 2o10, after months of testing, the ATF concluded that the bump stock did not turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons, as the trigger still had to be engaged in order for the weapon to fire.
“We could not find a way to classify it as a machine gun,” Vasquez said. He also shared with The Trace a document in which he explained the agency’s decision. The crux of the argument went as follows:
The Slide Fire