Feds push to clarify regulations on bump stock

Feds push to clarify regulations on bump stock
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The Trump administration has begun a push to determine whether current federal firearms regulations should ban devices that allow gun owners to modify their weapons to increase the rate of fire.

The devices, known as "bump stocks," can be used to modify semi-automatic rifles to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute.

The review being conducted by the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will look at whether a rule prohibiting the possession of firearm parts that are used "in converting a weapon into a machine gun" also applies to bump stocks.

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"The regulatory clarification we begin today will help us to continue to protect the American people by carrying out the laws duly enacted by our representatives in Congress," Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report Trump backs down in rare reversal Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump MORE said in a statement.

At the heart of the review is the definition of "machine gun," and whether bump stocks can be considered components used to turn firearms into such weapons.

The issue of whether to ban bump stocks came to the forefront of the nation's gun control debate in October after a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas from his room in a nearby hotel using firearms fitted with the device.

That attack left nearly 60 dead and more than 500 injured. 

That shooting sparked widespread calls from Democrats and some Republicans to ban bump stocks.

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights lobbying group, came out against legislation that sought to expressly prohibit the devices but said the devices should be subject to additional regulations.