Trump moves to ban gun ‘bump stocks’

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration would take steps to ban an accessory that enables a rifle to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute as he considers firearms restrictions after last week's school shooting in Florida.

Tightening gun laws would mark a change in course for Mr Trump, who has championed gun rights during his campaign and presidency.

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School - where 17 people were killed - has reignited a drive to curb access to firearms.

Mr Trump directed the US Justice Department to quickly complete a proposed rule that would treat "bump stocks" as machine guns, which could effectively outlaw them in the US.

The move came in response to an October massacre in Las Vegas, where a gunman used a bump stock-equipped rifle to kill 58 people. It put Mr Trump at odds with the National Rifle Association, which has opposed such restrictions, and would allow him to bypass Congress, where a bump stock ban has failed to advance.

His announcement came shortly after White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump would not rule out other options as well, such as banning the AR-15-style "assault rifles" used in a number of high-profile mass shootings, including last week's shooting .

The suspect in that shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle he bought legally, the authorities said.

The White House has already thrown its weight behind legislation that would tighten the national criminal background check system for gun buyers by ensuring that states and federal agencies share their records.

That Bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in December, but it has stalled in the Senate because it is paired with another measure that would make it easier for gun owners who have a concealed-carry licence to bring their weapons into other states.

Democrats have said that is a non-starter. - REUTERS