On Wednesday, anonymous officials from inside the Trump administration told CNN that President Donald Trump has a plan to officially ban bump stocks on guns in the next few days, following up on a promise to do so that he made more than a year ago.
The move has been highly anticipated recently, as bump stocks gained national attention in 2017 after a gunman opened fire at a music concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 people thanks to the quick-fire offered by bump stocks. Shortly after the horrific massacre, Trump vowed to get rid of bump stocks, and was urged by lawmakers on Capitol Hill to find a permanent legislative fix for the problem.
Unfortunately, thanks to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and opposition from some lawmakers, the only realistic path to banning the devices is through a regulatory change.
The appeal of the device for gun enthusiasts is the fact that it allows for much faster firing of rounds as it harnesses the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster than without the device. As a result, officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled during the Obama administration that bump stocks are only gun accessories, and therefore not subject to any federal regulations.
Exclusive: Trump administration will ban bump stocks in the coming days. Last year, the Las Vegas gunman rigged his weapons with the devices, killing 58. https://t.co/eoTdqTxmi8 pic.twitter.com/tsHVjlgDWH— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 29, 2018
However, Trump directed earlier this year that the Obama-era interpretation be overturned in a proposed rule-change. Under that alteration, bump stocks, “slide-fire” devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics should all fall within the prohibition on machine guns by allowing a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” and would therefore be illegal under federal law.
Once this rule is passed, supposedly in the next few days, owners of the devices will be required to destroy or surrender them to authorities. They will be given 90 days to do so.
“Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street,” a senior Justice Department official said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Trump, he has already told the NRA that “bump stocks are gone” last month, but as of now the usually vocal association has not responded to this piece of likely unwelcome news.