President Donald Trump this week directed the U.S. attorney general to craft regulations that would ban “bump stocks” and other devices that accelerate the firepower of legal semi-automatic rifles like those used in the Las Vegas mass shooting.
The president announced the action during a White House event on Tuesday when he addressed the latest school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead last week.
There is no evidence that a bump stock was used in the Florida shooting, but the devices were attached to semi-automatic rifles used in the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas where 58 people died and more than 500 were injured.
Trump said that after the “deadly shooting in Las Vegas,” he directed the attorney general to clarify whether certain bump stock devices were illegal under current law.
“A few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump told law enforcement and first responders in the White House East Room.
The president’s directive comes as pressure mounts for a federal response to mass shootings.
Trump will meet at the White House this week with students, teachers, law enforcement and other state officials on measures to make schools safer and reduce mass shootings.
The nation’s governors are meeting with Trump at the White House next week. The National Governors Association is led by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Republicans and the nation’s gun lobby signaled a shift in October after a lone gunman used his perch in a Mandalay Bay hotel room on the 32nd floor to rain down a hail of bullets into a country music concert in Las Vegas.
The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, had installed bump stocks on 12 semi-automatic rifles to enable him to fire 11,000 rounds in a 10-minute period into the crowd of concertgoers, according to congressional testimony.
At a glance
President Trump’s directive Tuesday urged the Justice Department to dedicate all resources available to complete the ATF review and propose a rule to ban bump stocks on other similar devices.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are expected to file a bill next week to restore the assault weapons ban, which would prohibit the sale and transfer of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The bill would ban the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, used in mass shootings in Florida, Texas, Nevada and Connecticut.
The assault weapons ban, enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, expired in 2004. Congressional efforts to restore the ban have failed.
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal