Trump administration takes first step to ban bump stocks
The Trump administration on Saturday began the process to ban bump stocks through regulatory action.
“The Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a notice of a regulation regarding the definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act and proposing to include “bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices.”
Bump stocks are devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at faster speeds.
Sessions previously signaled that the DOJ would seek the ban despite the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) previously indicating Congress would have to act in order to ban the devices.
ATF previously ruled that it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks under the existing regulations prohibiting machine guns under federal law.
The proposed rule next has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget as part of the regulatory review process. ATF also has to submit an analysis and evaluate public comments on regulating the devices. The review process will likely take months.
Saturday’s announcement comes more than two weeks after President Trump first announced that he had directed the DOJ to propose the regulations.
The president proposed the regulations in response to the Florida school shooting on Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead.
“Bump stocks are going to be gone,” Trump promised on Thursday.
The alleged shooter, who was recently charged with 17 counts of first-degree premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, did not use a bump stock.
However, the gunman at the Las Vegas mass shooting — which took place last October and left 58 people dead and hundreds more wounded — did use the device during his attack.
Although there was bipartisan support after the Las Vegas shooting to ban bump stocks, no bill was approved. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has advocated for ATF to close the loophole on bump stocks over a legislative fix.
The survivors of the Florida shooting have reignited a national debate over gun control and targeted the National Rifle Association (NRA) and politicians supported by the group.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill into law on Friday that would raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm in the state from 18 to 21 as well as ban bump stocks in the state.
The NRA immediately filed a lawsuit against the state action, arguing that the law violates the Second and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.