“Just a few moments ago I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns. I expect that these critical regulations will be finalized, Jeff, very soon,” said President Donald Trump on February 20 at Tuesday’s Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony at the White House.
In a memo to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the same day, Trump wrote, “Although 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 machineguns.”
Trump’s comments were aimed at bump fire stocks, a firearms accessory that uses a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to accelerate its firing rate closer to that of an automatic weapon at the expense of accuracy. Bump stocks were alleged to have been used by Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock in his deadly rampage.
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The president’s effort to ban bump stocks comes in the form of a reinterpretation of existing law by the executive branch.
Commenting on the victims and families of last Wednesday’s deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., President Trump said, “We cannot imagine the depth of their anguish, but we can pledge the strength of our resolve. And we must to do more to protect our children. We have to do more to protect our children.”
According to CBS News, the Justice Department said in a statement, “The department understands this is a priority for the president and has acted quickly to move through the rulemaking process. We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed.”
New regulations of this type first stand for a period of public comment and legal challenges before going into effect.
Bloomberg notes that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a briefing, “Background checks are something that the president is supportive of making more efficient and looking at better ways to improve that process.” Sanders told reporters asking if Trump supports reauthorizing the Clinton-era federal assault weapons ban, “we haven’t closed the door on any front.”
When asked if President Trump would support raising the federal age limit to purchase a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 to 21 years of age or older, Sanders said according to CNN, “I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks.”