Sessions Proposes Classifying Bump Stocks As 'Machineguns'

25 March, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Michael Vadon  Flickr President Donald Trump has vowed to work with Jeff Sessions to ban bump stocks

Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general, has officially proposed a rule that would effectively ban bump stocks, devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons.

On February 20, 2018, the President issued a memorandum instructing Attorney General Jeff Sessions "to dedicate all available resources to... propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns".

The proposal - which would require existing devices to be surrendered or destroyed - reverses a position held by both the Obama and Trump administrations, which have held that the attachments don't make firearms fully automatic. "As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period", Trump wrote.

The Justice Department proposed a ban Friday that would criminalize possession of rapid-fire bump stocks, devices made infamous after the Las Vegas shooting that received renewed attention as students protest gun violence across the country.

The comment period for the amendment is 90 days.

The ATF previously ruled that the devices don't fit the legal definition of "machine guns", which are illegal under federal laws, and that it could not restrict bump stocks without a new law from Congress. Manufacturers of the devices have letters from the ATF on their web sites to reassure customers that the devices are legal.

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The Justice Department's regulation Friday acknowledges the 2017 decision, saying, "Between 2008 and 2017".

The attacker, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, used the modifications to increase his rate of fire, allowing him to kill 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas. However, semi-automatic rifles, like the AR-15, are legal due to their lower rate of fire. The ATF reached a similar conclusion in 2012.

They are also calling for a bipartisan effort to ramp up gun control and demanding "a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues". "We will be ready to defend this regulation if and when, as we expect, the gun lobby challenges it in court".

The government determined in 2010 that bump stocks couldn't be regulated unless Congress changed the law.

She added, "Congressional action is the only way to get this done and get these deadly devices off the streets now".

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