What is a bump stock, the device that attaches to semi-automatic rifles

In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that claimed 58 lives, bump stock devices have gotten attention in terms of federal regulation.

The New York Times explains bump stocks replace a rifle's standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. The attachment allows the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback the operator feels when the weapon fires.

Commonly found on semi-automatic rifles, the device "bumps" back and forth, causing the firearm to rapidly fire again and again. The operator maintains forward pressure on the barrel and backward pressure on the pistol grip while firing, the Times continues.

The device enables semi-automatic rifles to fire at a rate closer to fully-automatic weapons. Automatic weapons made after May 19, 1986, are illegal to possess. Federal licenses are required for guns of the type made earlier than the date.

Bump stocks are legal under federal law.

According to gun control advocates, the device was intended to aid users who have arm mobility issues while firing a semi-automatic long gun.

Gun rights group, the National Rifle Association, has expressed calls for a review of bump stocks and their regulation.

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