US Department of Justice proposes banning bump stocks

Proposal comes weeks after deadly Florida school shooting

(George Frey/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is proposing banning bump stocks, which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire and were used in last year's Las Vegas massacre.

The Justice Department's regulation, announced Saturday, would classify the device as a machine gun prohibited under federal law.

The move was expected after President Donald Trump ordered officials to work toward a ban following the Florida school shooting. It likely sets the stage for what could become prolonged legal battles with gun manufacturers while the devices remain on the street.

[MORE: NRA sues Florida after governor signs gun control bill into lawFlorida Gun Show organizers say bump stocks gaining popularity amid ban concerns]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed in a statement Saturday that the proposal was made under the direction of President Trump.

"President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” Sessions said. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had previously approved bump stocks. ATF officials believed they lacked the authority to regulate the devices without action from Congress.

The proposal still needs approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget.