Washington, Feb 21 (PTI) Facing public wrath after the deadly school massacre in Florida, President Donald Trump has decided to consider banning bump stocks, a controversial device that turns semi-automatic rifles into machine guns that can fire hundreds of rounds a minute. Also Read - Joe Biden Administration 'Undecided' On Ending Trump-Era H-1B Visa Ban
Trump yesterday said he signed a memorandum directing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns. Also Read - This 10-Second Video Clip Has Been Sold For a Whopping Rs 48.4 Crore, What's Special About It?
“We can do more to protect our children,” Trump said at a White House event, insisting school safety is now a top priority for his administration. Also Read - Joe Biden Revokes Donald Trump's Visa Ban On Many Green Card Applicants, Says US Businesses Harmed
“I expect that these critical regulations will be finalised, very soon,” he said.
The move comes in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Florida school last week that killed 14 students and three teachers, renewing a debate over gun control in America.
Bump stock devices were not used in the Florida school shooting but it became controversial after the Las Vegas mass shooting in October last year in which the gunman used the device and killed 58 concert-goers.
“After the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, I directed the Attorney General to clarify whether certain bump stock devices, like the one used in Las Vegas, are illegal under current law. That process began in December,” he said.
“The key in all of these efforts, is that one cannot merely take actions that make feel like they are making a difference,” he said.
“We must actually make a difference. We must move past cliches and tired debates and focus on evidence-based solutions and security measures that actually work, and that make it easier for men and women of law enforcement to protect our children and to protect our safety,” Trump said.
Facing rising political heat after the Parkland school massacre, Trump blamed his predecessors for a lack of action and said he would be different, despite widespread skepticism among gun control activists about his sincerity and capacity to make the case for change.
In the memorandum, Trump said although the Obama administration had repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, he sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine-guns.
“Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump said.
According to The Washington Post, the move to ban bump stocks may upset the pro-gun lobby group National Rifle Association, which is one of Trump’s strongest supporters.
The Justice Department said “this is a priority for the president” and it has acted quickly to move through the rule-making process.
“We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, CNN commented that any serious action will require the kind of leadership that could cause Trump to alienate parts of his political base, something that he has been reluctant to do in his first 13 months in office.
“So far, he has been more keen to highlight the failure of the FBI to stop the Florida high school carnage and the need to fill loopholes in mental health care than to accept the case for changing firearms laws,” it commented.
“But as a Republican president, perhaps the most pro-firearm chief executive in American history, Trump is, in theory, in a unique position to use his good standing with Second Amendment activists to make the case for gun reforms,” it added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.