The Department of Justice proposed a new rule Saturday to make the possession or sale of bump stocks illegal, responding to President Donald Trump’s call for such a proposal after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, despite the fact that no bump stock was used in that shooting.
Bump stocks harness the action of firing a semiautomatic rifle to allow a shooter to fire more quickly, allowing many rifles to fire at an almost fully automatic rate.
One was used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock on Oct. 1, 2017.
Ironically, the Obama administration had argued that only Congress could disallow the sale and ownership of bump stocks by changing federal law.
In fact, even left-leaning Politifact found a 2017 claim by the National Rifle Association that the Obama administration had approved bump stocks “on at least two occasions” to be “mostly true.”
Clearly, Trump feels otherwise, even though “(k)ey members of Congress” told The Washington Times that they would be open to making such a change legislatively.
Trump signed an executive order about a week after the Parkland shooting, instructing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft the new federal regulation, according to USA Today.
“We must do more to protect our children,” Trump said when announcing his executive order last month.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued a series of opinions on bump stocks over the last several years, but never considered them illegal under federal law as it then stood.
“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,” Sessions said in a Justice Department statement regarding the new proposal.
“To that end, 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,” he added.
The original definition in the 1934 act was “any weapon which shoots, or is designed to shoot, automatically or semiautomatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of
The bump stock was invented around 2005, according to Newsweek.
The next step for the proposed rule is review by the White House Office of Management and Budget prior to publication.
After approval, the DOJ will “seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible,” USA Today reported.
In a related move, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday banning bump stocks in Florida, according to CNN.
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