President Trump on Tuesday has directed the Department of Justice to propose regulations that would ban the use of “bump stocks” and other weapons accessories used to simulate fully automatic fire.
“Just 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 said at the start of a Medal of Valor ceremony. “I expect that these critical regulations will be finalized very soon.”
The response to gun issues comes a week in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida High School that left 17 people dead last Thursday.
“The key in all of these efforts, as I said in my remarks the day after the shooting, is that we cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make a difference,” Trump said. “We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence-based solutions and security measures that actually work, and that make it easier for men and women of law enforcement to protect our children and to protect our safety.”
A review of bump stock regulations from the Justice Department began in December after the Las Vegas deadliest shooting that left 58 dead in October. In the Las Vegas attack, the gunman used bump stocks to allow his weapon to fire faster at the same rate of an automatic weapon.
Trump’s order for new bump stock limits follows a recently finished Justice Department review of potential regulations on the devices that began in December. In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms determined that existing law prohibited it from regulating bump stocks because the devices are firearm parts rather than weapons in and of themselves.
In the memo, Trump asked the DOJ to “dedicate all available resources” to propose a “rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” The president also called out the Obama Administration for making bump stocks devices “lawful to purchase and possess.”
“The Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine guns,” the memo reads. “Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
On Wednesday, Trump will be hosting a two day listening sessions with parents, teachers and students from Parkland, as well as others affected by school shootings such as Newtown, Connecticut and Columbine, Colorado. The meetings are aimed at improving school safety.
“This week, I will be holding a number of discussions with students, local leaders, and law enforcement to develop concrete steps that we can take to secure our schools, safeguard our students, and protect our communities,” Trump said. “School safety is a top priority for my administration. That is why, when governors from across the nation visit the White House next week, we will be discussing, at great length, what the federal and state governments can do to keep our students safe.”
During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, the White House press Secretary said the president opposes the “bump stock” as well as back efforts to improving federal background check system.
“I can tell you the president supports not having the use of bump stocks and that we expect further action on that in the coming days,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders following Trump’s remarks. “The president has expressed his support for efforts to improve the federal background system and in the coming days we will continue to explore ways to ensure the safety and security of our schools.”