Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposed new regulations Friday that effectively ban so-called bump-stock devices that allow rifles to mimic fully automatic machine gun fire.
The move comes a day before hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the capital to call for stricter gun control in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school.
Bump stocks were not used in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, an attack that has since launched a reinvigorated campaign for tighter gun laws.
President Trump, however, called for the Justice Department to act on the bump-stock devices, which were attached to rifles used in the Oct. 1 massacre in Las Vegas, in which 58 concert-goers were slaughtered by a lone gunman firing from a high-rise hotel.
“After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress,” Sessions said in a written statement.
Sessions’ action opens a 90-day public comment period before the regulation can become final.
A long controversial firearm accessory, the devices use the recoil action of a semi-automatic firearm to speed the pace of gunfire, mimicking a fully automatic weapon.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had reviewed the device over the years and had issued opinions determining that the accessories were lawful.
Congress banned the sale and manufacture of machine guns for civilian use in 1986, and machine guns in circulation before then are now tightly regulated.
Trump took on the bump-stock issue in the aftermath of last month’s Florida shooting, as students, victims’ families and gun-control advocates launch their push for a re-examination of current gun laws.
“We must do more to protect our children,” Trump said then, promising that the school safety would be a top priority for the administration.
© 2018 USA Today
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.