Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed on Tuesday that the Justice Department is inching closer toward a decision on banning bump stocks just a week after President Donald Trump recommend a regulation to outlaw the controversial device.
“We will have an announcement on that soon,” Session told state attorneys general from around the country, according to Reuters.
Justice Department lawyers believe, according to the attorney general, that there is a legal path to ban the device, which essentially turns semi-automatic rifles into automatic weapons, even though the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has argued otherwise.
“We believe in that, and we have 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 a semiautomatic to a fully automatic," Sessions said.
The attorney general's comments come after the president made banning bump stocks a key part of his response to the latest mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.
“I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump said during a Medal of Valor ceremony last week. “I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon.”
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley reaffirmed the president's stance on the device earlier on Tuesday, telling Fox News: “Anything that takes a legal firearm and turns it into something illegal, like a bump stock does, the president is against that.”
Bump stocks grew to national attention after news broke that the Las Vegas shooter used a bump stock to transform a semi-automatic weapon to fire at the rate of an automatic one, killing nearly 60 people in last year's a massacre.