WASHINGTON — President Trump today signed a memorandum directing the Justice Department to move forward with a proposed rule “banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns,” including the “bump stocks” used by shooter Stephen Paddock in the Las Vegas massacre.
Trump’s memo notes that after the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a country music festival he asked for a review of how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates such devices.
“Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machineguns,” he stated today.
Trump said more than 100,000 public comments were received during the Justice Department’s rulemaking period that ended Jan. 25. Today’s memo directed the DOJ “to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”
“Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes,” said the president’s memo. “Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit.”
At a White House ceremony today honoring a dozen law enforcement officers and first responders, Trump said he’s “working very hard to make sense of these events” in which a former student killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school Wednesday.
“On Saturday, I met with some of the survivors and their families and I was moved — greatly moved, greatly moved — by their strength, their resilience, and heartbroken for the families whose loved ones were so cruelly torn from them forever. Forever and ever. We cannot imagine the depths of their anguish, but we can pledge the strength of our resolve. And we must do more to protect our children,” Trump said. We have to do more to protect our children.”
“This week, I will be holding a number of discussions with students, local leaders and law enforcement to develop concrete steps that we can take to secure our schools, safeguard our students and protect our communities. School safety is a top priority for my administration. That is why when governors from across the nation visit the White House next week, we will be discussing at great length what the federal and state governments can do to keep our students safe,” he added.
That will include, the president said, “implementing commonsense security measures and addressing mental health issues, including better coordination between federal and state law enforcement to take swift action when there are warning signs.”
On his memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding bump stocks, Trump said he expected “that these critical regulations will be finalized — Jeff — very soon.”
“The key in all of these efforts, as I said in my remarks the day after the shooting, is that we cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make a difference,” he said. “We must move past cliches and tired debates, and focus on evidence-based solutions and security measures that actually work and that make it easier for men and women of law enforcement to protect our children and to protect our safety.”
A new Quinnipiac poll released today found that when asked the question “do you support or oppose stricter gun laws in the United States,” 66 percent supported and 31 percent opposed.
Thirty-four percent of Republicans said they wanted stricter gun laws, 86 percent of Democrats said they did, and 69 percent of independents backed the idea.