The Trump administration got something right, but not without a dig at the former president Barack Obama's administration. Donald Trump shared on Friday that the Justice Department is finally taking steps towards banning bump stocks, attachments that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones. The new ban would classify them as machine guns under current federal law.
President Trump announced the change while blaming the Obama administration for making them legal in the first place. "Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period," the tweet read.
The regulation will go through a standard 90-day period for public comment, so it could see changes within that time or simply be put into effect as is. Currently under the law, automatic weapons made after 1986 are illegal under the Firearm Owners' Protection Act, meaning new automatic weapons for civilian use cannot be manufactured. Bump stocks now fall under that jurisdiction.
Bump stock became a subject of debate when a gunman killed 58 people in an October Las Vegas country music concert, which was the largest mass shooting in the country's history. Gun control again became a topic of constant debate in the aftermath of the Valentine's Day Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead. However, the gunman in that shooting did not use a bump stock.
While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives technically did legalize bump stocks during Obama's presidency, it was apparently due to legal hurdles at the time. UCLA professor Adam Winkler told PolitiFact last year that the devices had not been classified as automatic weapons, so applications from manufacturers looking to make them could not legally be rejected. He went on to tell PolitiFact they were approved by the ATF "not because they liked it, but because the law did not permit them to prohibit it."