Photo: Zach Rudisin via Wikimedia Commons
Amid growing calls for gun control measures in the wake of 17 deaths in a Florida high school shooting, President Donald Trump Tuesday said his administration is working to ban devices that convert firearms into machine guns.
The shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – one of the deadliest in recent years – outraged the local community and renewed debate over gun control and background checks.
There have been several protests in cities as students and activists have been highlighting the need to address the issue of gun violence and availability of weapons to people like Nicholas Cruz, a former student of school in Parkland, who perpetrated a shooting rampage on teachers and students with AR-15 assault type weapon.
At the White House, Trump said he has tasked the Department of Justice to come up with recommendations to ban bump stocks bump stocks that make weapons much more lethal.
“A few moments ago — I signed a memorandum directing the Attorney General to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump said at a White House ceremony held to honor law enforcement officers with Public Safety Medal of Valor Awards.
Trump took the step following a massacre of 58 people in Las Vegas October last year during which the shooter used bump stocks to make his semi-automatic weapon fire at a much faster rate.
The president expects that the critical regulations to ban bump stocks would be finalized “very soon.”
He said at the ceremony the people across the country are grieving for the Parkland community. “We’re working very hard to make sense of these events.”
Trump, who Saturday met with some of the survivors and their families, said:
“We cannot imagine the depths of their anguish, but we can pledge the strength of our resolve. And we must do more to protect our children. We have to do more to protect our children.”
Several organizations and students are planning large protests against gun violence and pressure has been mounting on politicians whose campaigns receive funding from the National Rifle Association.
The Parkland school shooting has resulted in the launch of a campaign ‘Never Again’ with support from students. A group of students on Monday protested outside the White House to press their demand for measures to end mass shootings.
But across the country a large number of gun owners back the NRA and oppose the idea of restrictions on purchase and availability of weapons, citing their right to firearms under Second Amendment of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the White House has indicated that it would be open to considering age restriction rules for purchase of semi-automatic rifle.
“I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
President Trump will also hold discussions with students, local leaders, and law enforcement to develop “concrete steps that we can take to secure our schools, safeguard our students, and protect our communities.”
“School safety is a top priority for my administration. That is why, when governors from across the nation visit the White House next week, we will be discussing, at great length, what the federal and state governments can do to keep our students safe.
“This includes implementing commonsense security measures and addressing mental health issues, including better coordination between federal and state law enforcement to take swift action when there are warning signs,” the president said at Tuesday’s ceremony.