Sessions predicts announcement on bump stocks soon
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is nearing a decision on whether to ban bump stocks, and suggested that the DOJ believes it has the legal authority to prohibit the devices.
“We believe in that, and we have had to deal with previous [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] ATF legal opinions, but our top people in the Department of Justice have believed for some time that we can, through regulatory process, not allow the bump stock to convert a weapon from a semi-automatic to a fully automatic,” Sessions told state attorneys general, according to Reuters.
ATF has previously said that it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks, which increase the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles.
While machine guns are prohibited under federal law, ATF previously determined that bump stocks cannot be banned in the same way.
ATF has said that Congress would have to take action for bump stocks to be prohibited.
But President Trump announced last week that he had directed DOJ to propose regulations banning the devices, which came under intense public scrutiny last year after a deadly mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival.
The debate over gun control reignited this month after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others.
A bump stock was not used in that attack. Still, the shooting sparked widespread calls to limit access to firearms and accessories.