Donald Trump orders ban on Las Vegas-style bump stock gun modifications

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Trump takes step to ban 'bump stocks'

The US president has signed a memorandum ordering a ban on bump stocks used to make semi-automatic rifles fire like automatic weapons. The man who killed 58 concert-goers in October 2017 in Las Vegas used a bump stock.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to write new regulations that would "ban all devices" like bump stocks used in the 2017 Las Vegas concert massacre.

The announcement came after a former student shot and killed 17 people in a high school in Florida on Wednesday. 

Read more: After Las Vegas shooting, NRA calls for legal review of bump stocks

Trump's announcement:

  • Trump said at a White House ceremony honoring US public safety officers: "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."
  • "We must move past cliches and tired debates and focus on evidence-based solutions and security measures that actually work," he said, adding the regulations would be drawn up "very soon."
  • A Justice Department spokesman later said: "We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed."
Deadly mass shootings in the US

Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks

In November 2018, a 28-year-old former Marine attacked a country dance bar outside Los Angeles, killing 12 people and wounding 10 others. The bar was holding a "College Night" and was packed with a young crowd. The gunman was found dead inside the bar, apparently he killed himself.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh

Eleven worshipers were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 while attending a baby naming ceremony. Six others were injured, including four police officers. The gunman is currently facing 29 criminal counts and could receive the death penalty. Police said he told officers that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Parkland, Florida

A 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida killed 17 of his fellow classmates in February 2018. For the first time in the US, survivors of a mass shooting came together to demand immediate action on gun control. The students founded March for our Lives, a nationwide student mass protest movement.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs

A grudge against his in-laws led a 26-year-old man to attack a church in the small, tight-knit community of Sutherland Springs, Texas in November 2017. The shooter killed 26 people between the ages of 18 months and 72 years. The mass shooting prompted President Donald Trump to focus the issue of gun violence on mental health and away from gun ownership.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Route 91 Harvest Festival, Las Vegas

In the deadliest mass shooting in US history, concertgoers were targeted at a country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017. The shooter, a 64-year-old man with no criminal record, attacked from a room in the nearby Mandalay Hotel, killing 59 people and wounding more than 400. Authorities found 23 guns in the shooter's room.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Pulse nightclub, Orlando

An Afghan-American with a deep hatred for homosexuals attacked a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando, Florida in June 2016. Using an AR-15 rifle, the gunman stormed the darkened hall and killed 50 partygoers. The shooting was condemned worldwide and brought attention to hate crimes against the gay community.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown

The December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut rocked the nation in its brutality. It was the first time children under the age of 8 had been directly targeted, with 20 of them dying. Mourning parents flew to Washington, DC to support President Barack Obama's background checks legislation. The law ultimately wasn't approved, despite an emotional national debate.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Century 16 Theater, Aurora

In July 2012, a gunman opened fire during a movie screening in Aurora, Colorado, causing chaos and confusion. In the aftermath, 14 people were killed and 50 were wounded. The assailant attacked moviegoers as they were watching the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg

A student went on a shooting spree in a dorm and a class hall at Virginia Tech University campus in April 2007, leaving 32 people dead. The shooting turned the nation's attention to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful lobby group, which has fought to stop gun control laws.

Deadly mass shootings in the US

Columbine High School, Littleton

The 1999 assault in Littleton, Colorado, was the first school shooting to shock the nation. Two disgruntled students walked into their high school and opened fire with automatic weapons, killing 13 people. The attack would later become the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Michael Moore, Bowling for Columbine, that examined the causes of gun violence in the US.

How people reacted

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy took to Twitter to point at a growing fear among lawmakers about inaction on gun control, saying: "Sign after sign this week that we've hit a fulcrum point in this debate where politicians are … scared of the political consequences of inaction on guns."

But Sean Caranna, executive director of gun rights group Florida Carry, showed contempt for Trump's directive, saying: "You can't just legislate away evil."

Why this matters: President Trump has faced increasing pressure in recent days from gun control advocates to pass stricter laws following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Advocates called for a ban on bump stocks after Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old former accountant, used them to fire rapidly into a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers in Las Vegas in October, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500.

US Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill to ban the modification in October, but the proposal floundered.

Momentum has gathered for gun control measures following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

What are bump stocks: US law prohibits the sale of automatic weapons made after 1986. Bump stocks allow a shooter to modify a semi-automatic weapon to fire at a similar rate to an automatic weapon. There were no reports of a bump stock being used in the Florida school shooting.

Why is Trump acting now: Momentum is building for gun control measures after the Parkland, Florida, shooting. Several American celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a mass demonstration in Washington DC urging Congress to take action. The march, organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting, is slated for March 24.

Trump said he expects "these critical regulations will be finalized very soon"

ls,amp/mm (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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