WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he has directed his attorney general to propose changes that would ban so-called bump stocks, which make it easier to fire rounds more quickly.
“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,” Trump said at a Medal of Valor event at the White House, addressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon,” Trump said.
Moments earlier, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump ordered the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review bump fire stocks, which she said had been completed. She said movement on that front would take place shortly.
“The President, when it comes to that, is committed to ensuring that those devices are — again I’m not going to get ahead of the announcement, but I can tell you that the President doesn’t support use of those accessories,” Sanders said.
In December, the Justice Department announced that it had begun a federal rule-making process that could reinterpret the legality of certain bump fire stock devices, a piece of equipment that enabled the Las Vegas gunman in October to fire on concertgoers more rapidly, mimicking automatic fire.
When ATF began the process of considering a bump stock regulation in December the proposal drew more than 35,000 comments from the public, far more than usual, which signals that likely either pro- or anti-gun control groups — or both — mobilized their membership and email lists to weigh in. Comments were due by January 25, 2018.
Asked on Tuesday whether the President would support steps that would raise the federal age limit for military-style weapons, such as the AR-15, Sanders did not rule it out.
“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,” Sanders said.
In most states, the age limit for purchasing the AR-15 is 18, while the limit for handguns is 21.