Tuesday 23 October 2018

Donald Trump orders Justice Department to ban rapid-fire gun modifications

The president made the announcement during a ceremony recognising bravery by US public safety officers.

President Donald Trump speaking in the East Room of the White House (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaking in the East Room of the White House (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Catherine Lucey and Ken Thomas

President Donald Trump has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to “ban all devices” like the bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre.

The president made the announcement to curb the use of the rapid-fire devices during a ceremony recognising bravery by the nation’s public safety officers.

Mr Trump was responding days after 17 people were shot dead at a Florida school.

He pointed to the need for regulations to ban the device that was used to shoot 58 people in Las Vegas last October.

White House officials said the president will meet students, teachers and state and local officials to discuss ways of providing more school safety and address gun violence.

Past efforts to address gun violence in Congress have failed.

Mr Trump said: “We must move past cliches and tired debates and focus on evidence based solutions and security measures that actually work.”

Bump stocks were used in the Las Vegas massacre, and were attached to six of the long guns found in the shooter’s hotel room.

A legislative effort to ban the device fizzled out last year.

ipanews_0b173687-cc3f-4093-ad0d-3747c6cfeb0d_embedded235118121
President Donald Trump speaking in the East Room of the White House (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mr Trump has also indicated he is open to a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases.

Over the weekend, the White House said he had spoken to Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

The president’s spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and “revisions are being considered”.

But she said “the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system”.

The main action Mr Trump has taken on guns has been to sign a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.

The president has voiced strong support for gun rights and the National Rifle Association.

ipanews_0b173687-cc3f-4093-ad0d-3747c6cfeb0d_embedded235092872
Demonstrators participate in a “lie-in” during a protest in favour of gun control reform in front of the White House (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI.

It was introduced after the US air force failed to report the criminal history of a gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church.

The president’s statement comes as shooting survivors and other young people press for more gun control in a rising chorus of grief and activism.

Their “March for Our Lives” is planned for March 24 in Washington.

Ella Fesler, a 16-year-old from Alexandria, Virginia, was among the students at a “lie-in” earlier on Tuesday in front of the White House.

She said it was time for change, adding: “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News