Trump asks Justice Department to write regulations banning gun bump stocks
President Donald Trump. Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to draft regulations that would ban devices known as “bump stocks” that are used to accelerate gunfire on semi-automatic weapons.
Trump said at the White House that banning the devices could help prevent mass shootings, report the New York Times, ABC News, NPR and the Washington Post. “I expect that these critical regulations will be finalized … very soon,” Trump said.
Trump said in a memorandum that the Justice Department has already begun the process of promulgating a federal regulation interpreting the definition of “machine gun” to clarify whether bump stocks should be illegal. The advance notice of rulemaking has already concluded, and the Justice Department received more than 100,000 comments.
“Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump said in the statement.
The Las Vegas gunman had used a bump stock to kill 58 people at a country music festival last year. The 19-year-old suspect in the high school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida, had used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle that was purchased legally, USA Today has reported. There have been no reports that he used a bump stock, according to NPR.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had concluded in 2010 that bump stocks weren’t regulated by existing law. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that she does not believe the ATF has the authority to ban bump stocks and legislation is needed.
“If ATF tries to ban these devices after admitting repeatedly that it lacks the authority to do so, that process could be tied up in court for years,” Feinstein said, “and that would mean bump stocks would continue to be sold.”