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AG Sessions Floats Proposal to Tighten Regulation on Bump Stocks

FILE - A little-known device called a "bump stock" is attached to a semiautomatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range, in South Jordan, Utah, Oct. 4, 2017. The device was used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Department of Justice is publishing for comment a proposal to change federal regulations to classify devices with bump stocks as machine guns.

Bump stocks, devices that enable a semiautomatic weapon to function as a fully automatic one, have been the object of controversy since a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year where 58 people died and hundreds more were injured.

In a news release late Friday, Sessions said, “President [Donald] Trump has had no higher priority than the safety of each and every American.”

Sessions said that focus on safety was the reason behind Friday’s move, the publishing of a proposed rule change.

U.S. citizens will have 90 days to comment on the proposal, which “would define ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock-type devices under federal law — effectively banning them,” the statement said.

Public comments do not necessarily have an impact on whether the proposal is implemented; federal officials will still have the final say on how and whether the classification of bump stock devices is changed.