Trump administration issues final rule banning bump stocks

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Trump administration issues final rule banning bump stocks

On Tuesday, 443 days since the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was carried out at a Las Vegas music festival with the use of rifles equipped with “bump stock” devices that allowed the weapons to essentially operate as an automatic weapon, the Trump administration made good on President Donald Trump’s promise to ban the devices.

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The Justice Department has issued a final rule banning bump stocks, amending current regulations surrounding the devices and making clear that guns with “bump stock devices” are effectively machine guns.

PHOTO: Shooting instructor Frankie McRae illustrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a bump stock at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C., Oct. 4, 2017.Allen G. Breed/AP
Shooting instructor Frankie McRae illustrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a “bump stock” at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C., Oct. 4, 2017.

A senior Justice Department official told reporters there are currently “tens of thousands” of bump stocks in the U.S., but the official said it’s hard to know a specific number. The official said that those who currently possess bump stocks can either turn it into ATF or destroy them.

The announcement of the rule comes after an extended delay in President Trump’s promise to ban the devices. At an Oct. 1 presser, Trump said he believed it would only be “two or three weeks” before it was all done.

PHOTO: Investigators walk through debris on festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Investigators walk through debris on festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas.

In the past, the president has claimed he already banned the devices with a simple stroke of a pen, and has used it as a wedge in his defense of the administration’s overall inaction in the wake of mass shootings.

“We got rid of the bump stocks,” Trump said in March of last year to a crowd in Ohio. “The bump stocks, now, are under very strict control, which — I think everybody agrees it’s fine. And we really did a job — nobody reported it — doesn’t get reported.”

PHOTO: President Donald Trump meets with first responders and private citizens that helped during the mass shooting, Oct. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas.Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump meets with first responders and private citizens that helped during the mass shooting, Oct. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Trump also has also sought to hold up the issue as proof of his willingness to stand up to the National Rifle Association. The NRA in October 2017 released a statement that it supported a “review” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of whether bump stocks “comply with federal law.”

Previously, the ATF had ruled bump stocks complied with the law because they didn’t physically alter the mechanics of a firearm. As the agency initiated its review of the rule following the Vegas massacre, the acting ATF director at the time, Thomas Brandon, told lawmakers that he had been advised by attorneys any rule banning bump stocks could initiate a series of court challenges, and said a bill passed by Congress instead would be the preferable option.

On Nov. 8, OMB finished their review of the rule and an official told ABC News at the time it was sent it back to DOJ. But it took weeks to finalize its publishing in the Federal Register.

ABC News’ Mike Levine contributed to this report.

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