Gun control: U.S. justice department moves to ban rapid-fire bump stocks

This submission is a formal requirement of the regulatory review process.

Bump stocks were not used in the Florida shooting but came into the national spotlight because they were allegedly used in the Las Vegas massacre previous year.

"President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the release. Saturday's notice still has to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget before the regulation can be published in the Federal Register.

But the step is tangible evidence that the department is working toward regulating the devices, however gradual that work might be.

On Saturday, the justice department submitted a proposed regulation that would prohibit the sale of the devices. In December, Sessions announced that he was initiating the process to potentially change federal regulations and would be accepting public comments through January 25.

The NRA supported more regulations on bump stocks but has not endorsed Trump's ban and said previously it was awaiting the publication of the regulation before rendering judgment.

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A push by lawmakers to ban bump stocks failed in the aftermath of the Las Vegas incident, but the Florida school shooting turned up the pressure on the Trump administration to address the matter through regulation.

The suggested regulation would redefine machine guns under the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act to include firearms with bump stock modifications, which increase the firing rate of rifles. While bump stocks effectively turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns - which are already regulated - it is debatable whether they do so in such a way that the stocks are encompassed under existing law.

Because of the department's continued insistence that it cannot regulate bump stocks, the ATF's current reversal declaring the devices illegal could pave the way for manufacturers to challenge the new ruling in court, CBS News noted.

The president, who championed gun rights during his 2016 campaign, vowed to take action to prevent school shootings after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on February 14.

The decision to classify bump stocks as a machine gun would reverse a 2010 ruling by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Fox News.

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