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Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks to the National Association of Attorneys General at their Winter Meeting in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Department officials are forging ahead with plans to ban rapid-fire bump stocks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday — a move that would likely set the stage for long legal battles with gun manufacturers while the devices remain on the market.

Sessions said top officials within the department believe gun accessories like the ones used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre can be banned through the regulatory process. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives previously said it was powerless to restrict the devices without action from Congress.

The devices allow semi-automatic rifles to resemble a fully automatic weapon. The ATF approved them in 2010, finding they don’t amount to machine guns, which are prohibited under federal firearms law.

“We’ve had to deal with previous ATF legal opinions, but our top people in the Department of Justice have believed for some time that we can, through regulatory process, not allow the bump stock to convert a weapon from semiautomatic to fully automatic,” Sessions told a gathering of state attorney generals.

The comment comes as the Justice Department faces pressure from President Donald Trump to take action on bump stocks. The department was already reviewing whether it had the authority to regulate the devices when Trump last week ordered it to work toward banning them, spurred by the Valentine’s Day killings of 17 people at a Florida high school. Bump stocks weren’t used in that shooting, but it renewed a national dialogue about far-ranging solutions to gun violence.

Bump stocks have been a focal point of that debate, but outlawing them is not simple. Gun manufacturers and owners are likely to sue if ATF bans them ahead of new legislation from Congress. But any congressional effort to create new gun control laws would need support from the pro-gun Republican majority. A bid to ban the accessory fizzled last year, even as lawmakers expressed openness to the idea after nearly 60 people were killed in Las Vegas.

Despite the obvious hurdles, Trump this week insisted something would be done. And quickly.

“I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not,” he said Monday. “You put it into the machine gun category, which is what it is, it becomes, essentially, a machine gun, and nobody is going to be able to — it’s going to very hard to get them.”

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2 thoughts on “Sessions: Justice Department Can Ban Bump Stocks With Regulation

  1. the article states auto weapons have been banned since the 80’s please tell those ignorant Dem’s
    that fact, they love feeding false information to their uneducated and uninformed constituents, it’s funny how they show their lack of knowledge with their comments Planned parenthood donates 10 times more than the NRA the NRA has never killed anyone but PP kills 100’s of thousands of kids, again they show their ignorant s with the “AR-15” comment there must be 100 rifles that are chambered and perform like an AR-15 and again the Virginia Tech shooter killed twice as many and used HANDGUNS BTW Obama approved bump-stocks so the death of the LV concert go’s are on his hands

  2. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions-What about BANNING THOSE AR-15’s –or at least making them
    illegal for MINORS TO GET ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As long as the TURDS in DC are taking $$$$ from the NRA-THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY SERIOUS GUN LEGISLATION.

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