On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he has ordered the Department of Justice to ban so-called bump stocks. The devices modify the operation of certain semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the rate of automatic weapons. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used the the modification on a rifle to kill 58 people in Las Vegas last October. While speaking at a White House ceremony, Trump said, “Just a few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” He added, “I expect that these critical regulations will be finalized ... very soon.”

Shooter Paddock was found to have more than a dozen rifles, of which several were fitted with bump stocks and 100-round magazines. Within 10 minutes, Paddock was able to unleash more than 1,100 rounds on a crowd attending a concert in Las Vegas. In a 2010 memo, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled that it was not authorized to regulate guns equipped with bump stocks because they are not considered to be “machine guns,” which federal law defines as firearms that shoot more than one shot per pull of the trigger.

In December, Justice Department officials said that they could not regulate bump stock sales without action by Congress, according to The New York Times. In the meantime, states and local jurisdictions are debating over the devices. California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts ban the bump stocks. Connecticut, Washington, and other states are also considering such a ban. have both passed laws banning the devices. Several states, including Connecticut and Washington, and several municipalities are weighing a similar ban.

After the mass murder in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 persons, Trump announced that he is open to improved background checks for gun purchases. He also criticized the FBI for its failure to take action after being advised of menacing social media posts made by the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19.

Organizers of the Women's March, which mustered thousands of women to rally at the National Mall and elsewhere on the weekend President Trump was inaugurated in January 2016, are planning what they call a National School Walkout on March 14, to be followed by a March for Our Lives on March 24.

In a statement, the organizers declared, “Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school.” The statement went on to say, “Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day.”

 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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