The Department of Justice is proposing a rule change that would effectively ban bump stocks, devices that make semi-automatic weapons fire hundreds of rounds per minute, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is keeping with the constitute and the laws passed by Congress,” Mr. Sessions said.
Under Mr. Sessions’ proposal, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives would clarify that bump stocks fall within the definition of a machine gun, which are illegal in the United States.
President Trump tweeted his support for the bump stock ban just moments before the Justice Department announcement.
“Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period. We will BAN all devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”
A semi-automatic weapon requires a shooter to squeeze the trigger each time to fire a single shot. But when a bump stock is attached to the weapon, the gun’s recoil is used to “bump” the trigger back to the shooter’s finger, making the gun fire at a much faster rate.
Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others at a Las Vegas country music festival, had at least 12 rifles with bump stocks, according to law enforcement officials.
Mr. Trump ordered the banning of bump stocks six days after a gunman killed 17 people, including 14 students at a high school in Parkland, Florida, while armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. The shooting has sparked yet another national conversation on the issue of gun control.
The National Rifle Association has supported bump stock regulation, but has not endorsed Mr. Trump’s proposed ban, saying it was waiting review any rule changes.
Mr. Sessions made the announcement one day before thousands of school children and others are expected to rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for stricter gun laws. The “March For Our Lives” will be led by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida.