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'Bump Stocks' Used In Mass Shootings Banned

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At a time when America is going through unprecedented levels of gun violence, the Trump administration has banned the use of bump-stock devices -- accessories that can turn a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic one.

The government was under immense pressure for action on curbing the widespread use of guns in the face of multiple deadly shootings year after year.

In the deadliest attack in modern American history, 58 people were killed and over 500 others injured when a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas in October last year.

Audio recordings of the attack indicated that 64-year-old Stephen Paddock used an AR-15-type rifle outfitted with a bump stock to shoot at the crowd in rapid succession.

17 people, including students at a High School in Parkland, Florida, were killed when an expelled teenager returned to the campus and opened fire with an assault rifle in February.

This triggered calls from members of the Congress and former President Barack Obama for legislative action on gun control.

In the wake of this shooting, President Donald Trump directed the justice department to propose a law to make the bump stock accessories illegal.

Trump also asked his Administration to fully review how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, regulates bump fire stocks and similar devices.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed the new regulation on Tuesday, making clear that bump stocks are illegal because they fall within the definition of machine guns that are banned under federal firearms law.

Announcing the move, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said people who possess bump stock-type devices must surrender them to an ATF field office or destroy them by March 21st.

The move evoked opposition from pro-gun advocates.

The Gun Owners of America lobby issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they will be filing suit against the ATF and the Justice Department to seek an injunction protecting gun owners from "the illegal prohibition of bump stocks".

According to Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, "An estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property -- or else risk felony prosecution."

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