Schumer hits Trump on 'all talk' approach on guns

Schumer hits Trump on 'all talk' approach on guns
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday criticized what he called "serious problems" with President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE's "all talk" approach to gun control, arguing that only legislation can fully address the issue. 

Schumer's comments came after Trump announced on Tuesday that he had directed the Justice Department to propose regulations banning so-called bump stocks, devices that allow gun owners to modify semi-automatic rifles to shoot more rapidly.

Schumer said that Trump's support for such policy changes was a "welcome shift."

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But he noted that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), has already said that it does not have the authority to ban bump stocks.

"The only way to close this loophole permanently is legislation. He should call on Congress to pass Senator Feinstein’s bill to ban bump stocks, rather than just draft memos," Schumer said in a statement, referring to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinBiden administration seeks review of Trump-era approval of water pipeline What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates MORE (D-Calif.), who introduced a bill to ban bump stocks last year after a gunman used such a device to carry out the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

"On far too many issues, this administration has been all talk and little action — we can’t afford that approach when it comes to curbing gun violence," Schumer added. 

In addition to moves on bump stocks, Trump is reportedly weighing a new minimum age of 21 to buy certain kinds of firearms.

Trump's willingness to consider gun control legislation comes after a deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead and 14 others injured.

The gunman in that attack did not use a bump stock, but the shooting still reignited a national debate over gun control that has put pressure on lawmakers to act. 

ATF wrote in a 2010 letter to two companies that a bump stock "is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act."

That the bureau has previously stated that it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks has left some lawmakers, like Feinstein, concerned about the potential for prolonged court battles if ATF were to try to ban the devices now. 

"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, and that would mean bump stocks would continue to be sold. Legislation is the only answer," Feinstein said in a statement.