The Trump administration announced it would move to ban "bump stocks," devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to fire more rapidly, adding that the devices must be destroyed or surrendered to law enforcement.
BREAKING — Justice Department is issuing its final rule today that bans bump stocks, according to DOJ official, who… https://t.co/zBdoDxvIoM— Dominic Holden (@Dominic Holden) 1545147766.0
The move deals a blow to the National Rifle Association, which has otherwise remained steadfast in its support of President Donald Trump.
As if to defend the legitimacy of the organization, the NRA tweeted a quote from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas supporting its mantra that the "overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use" semiautomatic rifles "do so for lawful purposes, including self defense."
"Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles. The overwhelming majority of citizens who own an… https://t.co/yTMCzH152b— NRA (@NRA) 1545148556.0
This didn't go over well with many of the NRA's critics, who viewed the tweet as an example of its willingness to challenge the ruling.
@NRA Five million people need semiautomatic rifles for self-defense? What alien invasion did I miss?— Jared M. Gordon (@Jared M. Gordon) 1545153310.0
@NRA The Second Amendment gives you the right to bear arms. It does not give you the right to own a machine gun, tank, or nuclear weapon.— Eugene Gu, MD (@Eugene Gu, MD) 1545157065.0
One individual pointed out that it's not the majority of law-abiding gun owners who are the problem, but the minority who commit atrocities such as mass shootings.
@NRA Problematic word in your statement would be the majority. The minority that use them improperly are a huge problem.— Cassandra (@Cassandra) 1545150841.0
Another invoked the name of Maria Butina, the Russian agent who recently admitted to infiltrating Republican political circles---including the NRA---in a bid to influence U.S. relations with Russia. Butina's actions, prosecutors said, were part of a plan to "establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics."
@NRA ....and this has what to do with bump stocks? This isn't a ban on AR-15s. C'mon guys, go attack more ER docto… https://t.co/bBsGUAbemN— Semprini, Lord of Silly HONKS (@Semprini, Lord of Silly HONKS) 1545154702.0
In February, President Trump issued a directive to the Justice Department to issue regulations banning bump stocks.
"Just a few moments ago, I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns, Trump said at the time.
The Justice Department had announced in December 2017 that it had begun the process of reinterpreting the legality of the devices.
Trump's announcement earned praise, particularly from Democrats who'd felt their efforts to back gun control legislation in the wake of mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida, had been stymied.
The Justice Department received more than 186,000 comments on a proposal released this spring. The final ruling, released earlier today, declared:
“Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machine gun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.
Hence a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger.”