US Justice Department moves to ban rapid fire 'bump stocks'

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Bump stocks are gunstocks created to make bump firing easier-that is, they allow the gunman to use the gun's recoil to press the trigger faster than a human finger can, simulating the rapid-succession fire of an automatic weapon.

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 past year.

The Trump proposal needs the approval of the Office of Management and Budget. As a result, the Justice Department's regulation would classify the device as a machine gun, which is prohibited under federal law.

"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 a statement.

The Justice Department submitted a proposal that would forbid the sale of bump stocks Saturday. In the department's current view, the notice clarifies, bump stocks are included in the legal definition of a "machinegun". "Accordingly, we find that the "bump stock" is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm".

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

The gun lobby group does support additional regulations for bump stocks and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Until Saturday's filing, however, the ATF had maintained that they do not have the power to regulate bump stocks under federal law. The shooter placed bump stocks on several of the rifles he used in the attack, though it is not clear how numerous more than 1,000 rounds he fired came from those guns. "ATF makes rulings based on the statutory authority contained in law and can not change the law to add new accessories that do not fall within the scope of existing law".

The attachments are illegal in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and have been banned in California since 1990.

On Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a law for his state imposing a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns, raising the minimum age for buying those weapons to 21 and banning the possession of bump stocks. Even as the Trump administration moves toward banning the devices, some ATF officials believe it lacks the authority to do so.