US President Donald Trump's administration has planned to announce a long-anticipated federal rule officially banning bump stocks in the coming days.
Trump vowed to outlaw the devices soon after the tragedy, and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill urged him to back a permanent legislative fix.
The devices make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun's recoil to "bump" the trigger faster -- an operation that caused officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during former President Barack Obama's administration to conclude that it's merely a gun accessory or firearm part, not subject to federal regulation.
At Trump's direction, however, the Justice Department submitted a proposed final rule earlier this year that upended the Obama-era interpretation, and concluded that bump-fire stocks, "slide-fire" devices and devices with certain similar characteristics all fall within the prohibition on machine guns by allowing a "shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger", and therefore, they are illegal under federal law.
Under the new rule, bump stock owners would be required to destroy or surrender the devices to authorities.
Members of the public will be given 90 days to turn in or otherwise discard their bump stocks, according to a source familiar with the final rule.
"Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street," a Justice Department official told CNN Wednesday.