Donald Trump moves to ban bump stocks in wake of  US mass shootings

President Donald Trump has moved to ban bump stocks, the controversial device that turns semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons capable of firing hundreds of rounds a minute.

Bump stocks became widely known in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting in October when gunman Stephen Paddock killed nearly 60 people and injured more than 500.

Paddock had 12 bump stocks which he attached to his legal semi-automatic guns to dramatically increase their rate of fire. The bump stocks could be bought legally for as little as $100.

Donald Trump announces plan for ban on bump stocksCredit:

Mr Trump announced an intention to ban them days after another mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, the Florida gunman, used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, although not a bump stock.

Graphic: How ‘Bump-stock’ devices work

Mr Trump said that, after the Las Vegas shooting, he had directed Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, to clarify whether certain bump stock devices like the one used by Paddock were illegal under current law. That process began in December.

During a ceremony at the White House for members of the emergency services, Mr Trump said: "We can do more to protect our children. We must do more to protect our children.

"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. I expect these critical regulations will be finalised very soon.

Students prepare before a rally to put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control lawsCredit:
Gerald Herbert/AP

"The key in all these efforts is we cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make a difference."

He added that security measures must be taken that "actually work".

Mr Trump praised the student survivors of Parkland who have emerged in recent days as a powerful voice seeking gun control measures.

The president’s action was "a small, but vital step in the history of our movement" against gun violence, Mr Murphy added.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: "My understanding is that review has been completed and movement will take place on that shortly. The president doesn’t support the use of those accessories."

She said people from Parkland would come to the White House on Wednesday, along with some affected by past school shootings in Columbine, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut.

At the listening session students, parents and teachers would speak with the president about school safety and other issues.

Gun related incidents at US schools this year

The National Rifle Association, America’s main gun rights group, had already agreed that bump stocks should be looked at.

Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said after the Las Vegas shooting that they should be subject to "additional regulation" although not banned.

The NRA said it could not comment on Mr Trump’s proposed bump-stock ban until it saw the specifics of the regulation.

"Banning semi-automatic firearms and accessories has been shown time and time again to not prevent criminal activity and simply punishes the law abiding for the criminal acts of others," said Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the NRA’s lobbying arm.

The purchasing of fully automatic weapons has been significantly restricted in the US since the 1930s.

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