US Justice Department files regulation to ban 'bump stocks'

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While bump stocks effectively turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns - which are already regulated - it is debatable whether they do so in such a way that the stocks are encompassed under existing law.

Calls for the ban of the rapid-fire gun modification grew louder after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Florida.

On Saturday, the Department of Justice formally submitted a regulation to ban bump stocks that would not need congressional approval.

"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", said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Trump administration made its first move Saturday to ban the deadly bump stock. 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.

Opting for a plan the administration officials described as "pragmatic", Trump backs legislation proposed in Congress aimed at providing more data for the background check system - a database of people who are not legally allowed to buy guns.

A "bump stock" is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range in South Jordan, Utah on October 4, 2017.

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But his initial enthusiasm for restrictions was not shared by many of his fellow Republicans in Congress, wary of measures that could be viewed by some voters as infringing on their constitutional right to own guns, particularly leading up to the November congressional elections. If the Office of Management and Budget okays the proposed regulation, it would then be published, with members of the public allowed to comment, before a final version was put into place.

Bump stocks were heavily criticised last October after one of the deadliest mass shootings in USA history.

Although Trump announced in October he would be in favour of the ban, no proposal was ever introduced.

Bump stocks were not used during the Florida shooting, but calls, led by students, for stricter gun control have been heard nationwide.

The announcement came after Trump ordered the Justice Department to focus on bump stocks following the high school massacre of 17 people in Parkland, Fla. - even though the device was not used in that case.

That state law also rose the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21.